Donald Trump: America’s Obscene Gesture

This is a long post, but I ask that you read it all if you choose to respond with a constructive comment.

Donald Trump is an obscene gesture to the American political system. As a used car dealer from South Carolina said four years ago, “We’re voting with our middle finger.”

Americans got tired of both political parties being incessantly mired in gridlock and doing little of the work of the people. They were reacting to the offshoring of their jobs, the diversification of the population, and were lamenting the loss of the America they used to know. 

I get it. No one likes losing their job. Diversification creates a lot of challenges (and fear). No patriotic American enjoys witnessing the diminishing of the greatness of their nation. 

Trump’s supporters were really hopeful he could bring some much-needed change to Washington. I think some of these thoughts likely went through their minds. 

He is a successful businessman. We have had enough of the politicians and lawyers. I think a businessperson will do a better job of running the country.

He is a plainspoken person who can cut through the layers of bureaucracy and political BS to get something done.

He’s a colorful character, and certainly, no choirboy, but that could be kind of fun, just so he gets the job done.

I understand. 

But there is a part that I do not understand. If you can explain it to me in a civil manner, please do so.

Why would anyone expect someone with a long history of blatantly displayed bad character to be a good leader for the nation?

Why did these things not have a greater influence upon their decision?

Repeatedly demeaning women

Ridiculing a disabled reporter

Disrespecting a (Muslim) gold star family

Denigrating a POW war hero.

Giving his opponents junior high level nick names

Making fun of peoples’ appearance (especially women)

Lying whenever it was convenient.

These are just some of the lowlights of his campaign.

Large groups of psychiatrists, generals, former leaders, and more recently, former high-level members of his own staff and Secretaries of Defense (even ones that served under him) all warned us.

Why did anyone think this person would be a good leader for our country?

Was it because you could not vote for “Crooked Hilary” because you couldn’t trust her?

Or because “Sleepy Joe” will “hurt the Bible, God, and guns.” Or because he will bow to the radical left and turn us into a full-on socialist nation, destroying our way of life?

Did people vote for him because they thought he was the least bad of the two alternatives? How did we go from he and Hilary being the two least popular candidates in history to being so tribally supportive of one or the other? 

Trump, of course, went on to fulfill his destiny of being America’s obscene gesture by…

Labeling all news media that was unfavorable as “Fake News.” He even turned-on Fox News.

Trying to use the Justice Department as his personal legal team

Channeling his character from The Appreciate by firing scores of staffers who fell out of favor

Using Twitter as his personal propaganda and rant machine

Being caught in literally thousands of lies, inaccuracies, and deliberately misleading statements about many things, especially the election

Attempting to undermine the balance of power though undermining legislators, judges, and administrative officials who disagreed with him

Rejecting the results of a certified election

Inciting his followers to commit insurrection

Not everything he did was wrong or bad and he didn’t always get a fair shake by the media. A president rarely does. But his bizarre actions and words egged them on. 

Trump was not a good businessman, unless you consider having six businesses go bankrupt good business. But he was very good on TV. He’s a good salesman. He’s entertaining.

He was great at frothing up a crowd of supporters. He even created a personally cult. It is something beyond politics and way beyond the Republican party. He convinced a lot of people that he was fighting for them against the “Deep State”, against the “Lamestream Media”, and against evil, liberal conspiracies.

Last Wednesday, we all witnessed the ultimate act of his giving the American way of governing the middle finger. It was a logical conclusion.

Seeing Trump flags fly at the protest and riot along with American flags was unsetting to me. Promoting a mentally ill, narcissistic bully does not blend with our great American tradition. It is very much the opposite.

The Confederate Battle Flag also has a way of showing up. Wasn’t that war over a long time ago? Didn’t we decide that that particular symbol reminds people of our nation at its very worse?

Seeing Jesus flags at the riot was even more upsetting. Unfortunately, there has been an unlikely mesh-up between American Evangelicalism, nationalism, and Trumpism to form a toxic brew which looks nothing like Jesus and has repulsed generations of spiritually inclined people. They are avoiding a hypocritical church that bears little resemblance to its founder. Sadly, there is a growing popularity of even the most bizarre conspiracy theories among Evangelicals.

We have all been on the receiving end of an obscene gesture. We might possibly, perhaps, maybe even so gestured ourselves. 

What does it do? It’s an expression of anger, a kind of knee jerk reaction. It infuriates those on the receiving end. It feeds everyone’s anger. It divides. It incites.

The country needs a new symbolic gesture.

P.S. This was a hard post to write. I have put it off for years. Some of the dearest people in my life disagree with what I wrote. I will not sacrifice their relationship over political opinions, but I also will not be silent when I feel I must speak up.

About Glenn

Glenn Hager is a blogger, former newspaper columnist, and author of two books, An Irreligious Faith and Free Range Faith.
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  1. Great article Glenn. It is sad to see the events over the past four years, all spiraling downward to what we saw recently in DC. Even more disturbing is the way many evangelical Christians have backed and supported such an ungodly man. I can understand your feelings in being hesitant to post this, yet I am glad you did as it needs to be said.

    • Appreciate it! Stirred things up a bit. While we are in a mess as a nation, I hope and pray that there are truly brighter days ahead. As people who desire to follow Jesus, our primary residence is not in this kingdom. This one is just the cultural context in which we represent him.

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