The TRUMPet Sound

Trump’s Hyperbole

“You have to respect the office even if not the man.”

Who said it? Representative John Lewis on NBC “Meet the Press” March 8, 2015.

Of whom was it said? Barack Obama. Has Mr. Lewis suffered memory loss?

Flawed as he is Donald Trump is our President. The mantle of leadership rests on his shoulders.

His most ardent supporters must concede he is flawed. Fortunately flawed people can be high achievers. Abraham, liar, Moses, murderer, David, adultery, all had major character deficits yet were achievers. Consider also Trump’s competition for the office is rumored to be flawed.

There is one area Trump exceeds them all. He is the master of hyperbole. His use of such adjectives as the greatest, the best, the most, perfect, and other kindred comments can not all be accurate. Detractors will exploit them. Most who exaggerate anticipate their listeners will accept their embellishment as intended for emphasis not reality. When listeners interpret overstatements as literal truth, conflict occurs.

Hyperbole goes well in a hunting camp, but not in the Oval Office. To say a deer weighed a ton doesn’t mean it weighted exactly 2,000 pounds, it means it was a big deer. To say there were a million and a half people at an event doesn’t mean there were exactly 1,500,000 people there, it simply means there was a very large crown.

Another unbecoming trait is President Trump’s vanity. The minimization of the personal pronouns, I, me, my would be welcomed. They punctuate the comments of an egotists and no one is favorably drawn to a solipsist. His accomplishments are many. However, it is unbecoming for individuals to exalt themselves.

If he doesn’t change these uncomplimentary traits, will the public become impervious to them, and instead give attention to the type government he forges? Hopefully he will settle into a more becoming role as President. I pray his achievements will attract more favorable attention than does his personal unbecoming demeanor.

There is a anti-Trump segment of our society that will be difficult to placate. Many of those who did not favor his candidacy seem to think no one did. Much of the opposition is manufactured, even paid for. They who have been so insistent on everyone being inclusive are now highly exclusive. The “Women’s March” is exhibit A. It should have been called the Liberal Women’s March in that they excluded pro-life women’s group and men.

Our culture is not what it once was which means it can change. It is at a point where it must change for the good or it will degenerate. Basic is Jesus’ teaching to love one another. He did not tell us to agree with one another. Lamentably we are at the point where if you don’t agree with the vocal dissenters there is something wrong with you. The Christian ethic contains basic principles common to most faiths. The diminution of the faith community means less regard in society for its ethical system and its crown jewel, love.

Love one another is now defined like a slightly older sister who responded to her little sister’s question as to what love one another means by saying, “You are one and I am another, and you are supposed to love me.”

We will never all agree with one another. Neither will we all love one another. However, we must all learn to be civil with one another or we will destroy one another.

Trump On Leadership

A vital part of the art of leadership is the ability to unite those being led.

America is commonly considered to be divided. That means the nation has not been led in recent years. President Obama has been concerned about his legacy and the press has queried as to what it will be. His legacy is he divided the nation.

President Trump has inherited a divided nation. His election is not the cause of protests and riots, it is merely the occasion for them. The spirit of nonconformity has been perking under the surface for some time waiting to boil over. Occasional instances of it bubbling to the surface have been seen recently.

President Trump has a challenge like few presidents before him. He is doing things differently and proposing new and innovative ideas. In summary, things are changing.

When there is change a part of the brain known as the amygdala is activated. It is involved with our emotions, survival instincts, and memory. When change occurs it involuntarily calls for a fight or flight response. Then reason must kick in helping a proper response to be reached. Without it an irrational response often occurs. The amygdalas of America are overloaded at this time. Some want to fight, thus protests and riots. Some want to engage in flight, thus withdrawal and refusal to be involved, even moves to Canada.

The great majority of Americans are reasonable and willing to wait to see how the new administration is going to perform.

If the reformation proves to be positive, things will revert to a more harmonious society. However, even if things do dramatically improve there is a significant segment of our society that will not be placated. They don’t know what civility is. Unimaginable as it seems there are millions who have never been part of a positive productive group. They don’t know what it mans to live congenially with persons unlike them.

Link a large number of these with persons who professionally incite protests and riots and violence erupt.

If there is a positive productive new era to emerge the voices of the dissidents will be diminished.

Amid our past presidents, good and not so good, are a variety of types and temperaments, but never one quite like President Trump. However, such a broad spectrum of leaders has been used to the advantage of the nation to give cause for optimism regarding President Trump being a positive force to lead our nation to a reset of values.

Charting a new course involved change and that brings us back to the amygdala and the fight instinct being stimulated.

Some are inevitably going to react like spoiled children who have had their favorite toys taken away.

There is the irrefutable spiritual component involved in which many believe, as did Benjamin Franklin, that “God governs in the affairs of men.” How and to what extent varies. An analysis by Pew Forum reveals 92 percent of Congress are professing Christians. Nine members of the President’s Cabinet are Christians. There are other faith groups involved with kindred political values. Couple that with the fact 72 percent of the American population are Christians and surely there is enough spiritual guidance to be gained to help transform and unite our nation.

Like it or not, I saw a poster recently with a likeness of Jesus in the background and the caption: “Someone did interfere, rather intervened, in the election, and it wasn’t the Russians.”

Mr President, No Longer “The Donald”

Donald Trump is no more just Donald Trump. He is President Trump, our President, the President of the United States.
Will he disappoint us? Emphatically, yes. I disappoint me. Admit it, the person who looks back at you from your mirror at times disappoints you.

What are we to do when he does inevitably make decisions of which we do not approve? Don’t give up on him without giving him a chance to make many needed good decisions. Judge by the entire body of work, not just an individual action.

If at times you are prone to give up, remember what America was doing was not working. Something had to change. Change, even good change, is uncertain and unsettling.

I had a dear friend who was governor of Louisiana. He told me the faith community really supported his election. In the campaign he had taken a number of strong stands against some of the scrofulous characters in the state. He said the first time when in office he made a decision that disappointed members of the faith community they abandoned him. After that he rarely heard from leaders of that genera.

While in office he made a number of decisions that did not favor those who were morally tainted. Nevertheless, when he made decisions not favorable to them they did not abandon him. They kept in touch, kept coming back offering support, and befriending him.

If members of the faith community and other pro-Americans abandon President Trump when he disappoints them, and he will, they will be the losers.

We are a large diverse society and no one can please everyone all the time. There are elements in our nation no one can placate without fully capitulation to their demands. An example of this was the recent mob street protest in Atlanta. A member of the Justice Department who was in the room with Mayor Reed when he met with leaders of the group told me the demands of the group were reasonable, but the protesters were not. They swore at, cursed the mayor and shouted their demands. Even as he tried to calm them, they continued their remonstrance.

Michelle Obama recently said, “Now we know how it feels to have no hope.” If she and her minions have lost hope, her loss of hope has given a legion of others hope. The cadre of the hopeless needs to give the new administration time to prove itself.

Dealing with the different attitudes in America is going to be challenging. The money mongers who make a living by stirring up strife and create havoc are not going to give up their enterprise easily.

Benjamin Franklin noted “…God governs in the affairs of men….” In doing so historically He has used some most unlikely characters. Cyrus, King of Babylon, not the most principled of rulers, is spoken of as God’s “shepherd” (Isaiah 44: 28).

That does not imply God approved of all Cyrus did. That moniker was used of Cyrus regarding him being used of God to enable Israel to be freed from slavery.

Donald Trump is by no means a paragon of piety, a talisman of tact, a model of morality, a champion of courtesy, a guardian of grace, or the beau ideal of a statesman, but….

He can be used of God in His governance to achieve many things needed in America, i.e., the composition of the Supreme Court. That reality gives a lot of folks hope.

Russian Hacking

Every indication is the Russians tried to interfere with our elections. There is now proof they did and by invitation.
The year was 1983 and the invitation was to the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Y. V. Andropov. The appeal was from Senator Edward Kennedy. A record of the interchange was recently discovered when the archives of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin were opened to the public.

Kennedy was candid in proposing a mutually beneficial deal. He would give Andropov insight into how to deal with President Reagan. Reciprocally the Soviet leader would aid the Democratic party in opposing Reagan’s 1984 presidential election.

Unbelievably Kennedy would aid the Russians in telling them how to enhance their propaganda against Reagan. He offered to arrange for Andropov to visit America and have several TV interviews to make “a direct appeal…to the American people….” Upon success in these interviews Kennedy would endeavor to have representatives of the major US TV networks contact Y. V. Andropov appealing for interviews in Moscow to pursue the undermining of Reagan’s campaign.

Kennedy’s overtures made it obvious he was ambitious to deal with Andropov who was the Vladimir Putin of his day, a former director of the KGB and primary leader in both the crushing of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and the suppression of the 1968 Prague Spring. Sound familiar.

This action interchange occurred in 1983 shortly after President Reagan called the Soviet Union an “evil empire.”
There is no evidence Andropov every acted on the proposal. He died within eight months.

Historian Paul Kengor has observed, “The document has stood the test of time. I scrutinized it more carefully than anything I’ve ever dealt with as a scholar. I have showed the document to numerous authorities who deal with Soviet archival material. No one has ever debunked the memorandum or shown it to be a forgery.”

This is only one revelation of Russia being involved in our election. There should be no surprise that using high tech methods they tried to do so in our most recent election. The important thing is we recognize they always will try to gain their advantage and not with our elections only.

Thomas Jefferson, the apostle of liberty is quoted as saying, “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” Though the quote is thought to have been made originally by John Pilpot Curran, it was soon credited to Jefferson. It matters not who said it, truth is embodied in it.

It is such vigilance that has prompted President Truman to issue a temporary ban on immigrants from some countries deemed to be terrorist hot beds.

In the “Congressional Research Service,” Kate M. Manuel reported the following on January 23, 2017.

Trump’s ban is for three months. President Obama had a six month ban on people coming in from Iraq. As a matter of fact Obama issued nineteen different bans. President Clinton, referred to people wanting entrance as “aliens” and aggressively said certain ones should be banned. Twelve times he issued bans. His statement mirrors that of Trump.

Presidents Reagan issued five bans. Presidents Carter and Chester Author likewise imposed temporary bans.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s State Department suspended, without presidential action, all applications for people from Iraq for six months in 2011.

If critics are going to confront President Trump, they should at least be honest and allow him equity.

Trump’s Inauguration

President Donald Trump now has the title “Elect” removed. He is our President. As he spoke rain began to fall. Franklin Graham introduced his Scripture reading by noting that in the Bible rain is considered a favor of God. Hopefully the shower is an indication of good things to come.

Critics wasted no time attacking. After the speech the first CNN reporter referred to his speech as “dark,” and complained he didn’t pay tribute to Hillary Clinton. May he bring light and show grace even while doing things his detractors detest. The world is watching.

“Good Morning Britain” aired on ITV, Britain’s oldest TV network, came back this week for their third interview. The program is seen in much of Europe. Each interview has related to President Trump.

I am beginning to get a bit of a British accent and have “knees up.” For some reason that is British slang for having a good time.

They enquired about the divisions in America and Trump’s ability to deal with them. I noted a characteristic of a leader is he unites people. America is lamentably divided. A logical conclusion is there has been a lack of leadership or the division would not have occurred.

President Trump is inheriting a divided nation. The division is not caused by President Trump’s election, but his election is the occasion for it. Unrest has been smoldering beneath our social surface. President Trump’s administration will make some changes. Some people will like them and some resent them. Among the latter group are a significant group of nonconformists who are likely to protest and some riot.

Many are persons who have been insisting we be inclusive. Now they are very exclusive. Evidences of this include calling for the dismissal a board member of L. L. Bean, whose grandfather founded the company, because she gave personal money to a PAC supportive of President Trump or threatening the company will be boycotted. The calling for the dismissal of a college president who allowed students to attend the inauguration of President Trump. Congressmen boycotting the Inaugural Ceremony. Those are not inclusive actions.

Regarding President Trump professing to drain the swamp and calling out people I noted that for years I lived among the Cajun people in South Louisiana who had an expression that embodies a philosophy he would do well to adopt; “Don’t cuss the alligators till you get out of the swamp,” and he isn’t out of the swamp.

President Trump is not the prototype of a president we might prefer. He like all before him is flawed. However, as I noted in the interview if his decisions prove to be good the deprecating will decrease.

At the Inaugural Franklin Graham shared this Scripture as an appeal to pray for the President and the nation.

“I exhort first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” I Timothy 2:1, 2.

He may fail the faith community, but the faith community must not fail him by not praying for him.

If you get the idea I am optimistic “Bob’s your uncle,” that is British for “you got it, that’s right.”

As an aside, I am grateful to have been one of only three Southern Baptist ministers to have participate in an inaugural program, Billy and Franklin Graham are the other two.