Jim Wagner
Trump's preeminent virtue
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By Jim Wagner
February 27, 2020

In the course of a recent internet chat about Donald Trump, someone raised an interesting question. What single attribute of our president best encourages those of us who support him while most infuriating those who hate him? Several suggestions were offered, but the one that most impressed me was elegantly simple. The writer identified in Trump that one virtue which C. S Lewis aptly characterized as "not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality." By that Lewis was reminding us of something which deep in our hearts we already know, that our "virtues" only emerges as real or truly virtuous when living them out becomes dangerous, or at least when it becomes extraordinarily difficult.

The virtue we must rely upon in such instances is bravery, or fortitude, and as Lewis explained, "a chastity or honesty or mercy which yields to danger will be chaste or honest or merciful only on conditions. Pilate was merciful until it became risky." We see Lewis's compelling insight shamelessly revealed in the constant virtue signaling of the left, which awards itself medals for valor whenever it takes up a cause for which no bravery at all is required. For example, how much courage does it take, really, to shout "#me-too" after a perpetrator like Harvey Weinstein has been safely draped in chains?

Trump is brave. In my eye he is a stag surrounded by wolves. Or better still, he is Gulliver smothered in Lilliputians. And yet he fights on. In my heart this inspires a deeper and perhaps more interesting question: "Why is Trump brave?" While I did not anticipate his bravery before he was elected to office (did anyone?) I believe I have found the answer to that question in a most wonderful place.
    "The Lord GOD has opened My ear;
    And I was not rebellious,
    Nor did I turn away.
    I gave My back to those who struck Me,
    And My cheeks to those who plucked out my beard;
    I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.
    'For the Lord GOD will help Me;
    Therefore I will not be disgraced;
    Therefore I have set My face like flint..,'"
The prophet Isaiah shows us how the man of God should conduct himself in the face of this growing abomination we euphemistically refer to as "political correctness." Before the 2016 election I insisted that, though candidate Trump was a vulgarian, we were morally bound to vote for him as the lesser of two evils. I also took note of King David who, though a deeply flawed human being, was nevertheless chosen by God to serve as His instrument. My argument at that time was that although Trump had a flawed history and had said some profane and shameful things, based on his commitment to policies that were as unpopular with the secular establishment as they were morally correct; it appeared to me that he was re-dedicating himself to righteousness. I attributed that new disposition to the reverence he felt toward the burden he was about to accept. Trump has since taken on the mantle of Isaiah, while the candidates proposed by the Democrats are if anything worse than Hillary Clinton.

I am not saying that Trump has become mild mannered and pious, or suggesting that we should invite him to teach in our Sunday schools. Trump is not a minister of the cloth; he is a Christian soldier, marching – as we all should be marching at a time like this – as to war. Is he rough? Is he blunt? Of course! But he is brave! And that is what we should hope for in a man who is contending with the sons of Satan, as Jesus called the swamp creatures of His day. The Son of Man himself was every bit as blunt: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed sepulchers, which look beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and every impurity. In the same way, on the outside you appear to be righteous, but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness...."

Trump is brutally candid in confronting the dishonesty of the "movers and shakers" of our time, our corrupt and dishonest politicians and press. And some good and decent people cringe at that. But as has been asked so often by those whose motive is to deflect rather than advance the word of God, "What would Jesus say?" Woe to you who mislead the people by your public calumny and falsehoods! "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." Trump's directness is not a vice. It may appear clumsy and out of place at times, but that is only because the plain truth has been so long out of fashion.

I must try very hard not to understate my feelings here! Trump has exceeded all my hopes, both as a fighter for decency and justice and as an exemplar of fortitude in the face of insults and slander. His policies and decisions have for the most part been salutary in both wisdom and determination. He has astounded us with his fortitude. He has set his face like flint against the buffeting and spittle of a den of vipers so monstrous that we can be assured of their pharisaical pedigree. Have we ourselves done that? Have we taken up our own crosses with such courage in this hour of darkness? Have we stood by him against popular opinions we know to be immoral and wrong? Or have we temporized, lowered our gaze, made excuses, re-defined our cowardice as "civility," compromised our principles, shifted our moral code, and become collaborators in the very evils we once vowed never to support?

I cannot imagine a Christian who does not now support Donald Trump. What I can imagine are former Christians who lacked the courage to support him in this mission to restore us to the promise of our Father, and who now, so as to hide their shame, refuse to acknowledge their error. In this our present cause, which at times seems so desperate that only God can save us as a people and a nation, I pray that there are not many such collaborators.

This is our time. We have been called. And if, as it seems, we must go off to war, let us follow "the cross of Jesus, going on before!" I don't believe for a minute that Donald Trump is capable of expressing, in the flowery language of a theologian, this choice he has taken to pursue the cause of righteousness. But I do believe that his stalwart and often lonely conduct in the advancement of goodness deserves – demands – our full support. Onward Christian Soldiers!

© Jim Wagner

 

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Jim Wagner

Jim Wagner is a retired businessman and freelance writer. His degree is in Psychology with a minor in English from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, where he lived, worked, farmed and studied for nine years after his repudiation of the Vietnam War... (more)

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