A few months ago, my church challenged its members to think about the ‘gift’ of Donald Trump’s presidency. Many members were upset and angry that Donald Trump might try to undue all of the racial progress which has been so painstakingly achieved by the efforts of good people from all of America’s racial/ethnic groups.
I have pondered and prayed to understand how someone like Donald Trump could become president during this time in American history. I have read many analyses from a wide variety of political perspectives, including viewpoints from people who hold radically different ideas from mine. I don’t feel anxious or particularly upset that Trump became president though because frankly, no man has dominion over me, and I know that nothing in life just happens. My faith tells me that there is a reason Trump is president; the challenge is to understand why and the lessons the country is supposed to learn from it.
Increasingly over the past few months, I do think I am seeing a greater plan, dare I write, divine plan, unfolding under this president. Trump’s persona is causing many people to consciously examine what truths they really hold and will challenge when confronted. The protest in Charlottesville, Virginia is yet the latest example of the American public’s response to racism and bigotry. In the news videos I saw of this incident, I noticed that the majority of the protesters on both sides were white. Yes, there were some African Americans, but by and large it was white people leading the stand against racism, white nationalism, bigotry and Nazism. How great is that?
Other smaller groups protesting these negative values have also been led by whites. I am encouraged as well by the strong stand numerous people in the public sector have taken to denounce and distance themselves from Trump’s lack of moral integrity. Prominent corporate executives have resigned from Trump’s councils while voicing their disapproval of the president. Leaders of the U.S. Armed Forces have taken similar positions. The efficacy of their actions cannot be understated.
Are we watching the beginning of the end, not only of Trump’s presidency, but also, the scourge of racism, bigotry, and anti-Semitism which has been a plague on American life from the beginning of our country’s history? Is it possible that finally the larger tide of public sentiment supports the belief that as Americans all of us are equal? Now wouldn’t that be something?
In our daily lives, we may have become complacent about the values we hold dear, and possibly inured to the challenges that racism, bigotry, and anti-Semitism still present. Some of us may even be a bit tired and burned out from years of dealing with these issues. I am beginning to think though that the gift of Trump’s presidency is a revival of the human spirit and renewed energy for fighting injustice in America.