Experts who know more about these things than I ever will counsel all of us in this polarized world to listen to the other point of view, seek clarification as to the factual source of its premise, inquire as to whether the perspective is based upon all or a selective part of the story and then offer our own views with respect.
As these guidelines demand patience and particularly the last one, a dollop of potential discomfort to boot, it is easy to not bother; except when the views expressed seem particularly egregious if unchallenged ( politely).
All of which brings me to Mr. Robert Wilson’s letter to the Gazette of February 17th, 2021 entitled: “ Reader: Trump will go down as a great President”.
I would agree with his opinion, which consumed the lion’s share of his article, that a tough stance against China and the engagement of Turkish President Erdogan and Supreme North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un to secure the release of an American theologian from a Turkish jail and several US citizens from North Korean prisons were worthwhile endeavours.
Not so much his opinion on the economy or Mr. Trump’s “ aggressive support of the faith community” , given that Mr. Trump’s $1.9 Trillion tax cut benefited mostly the top 1/4 of 1 per cent of Americans; which seems to run counter to what a leader of any Faith would embrace. Just as Mr. Trump adopted the right to life bandwagon for fertile evangelical vote trolling, not out of conviction; is it not worrisome that much of the evangelical community in the US in embracing a man who is documented by The Washington Post Fact Checker in his term of office to have made 30,573 false or intentionally misleading statements ; demonstrated misogynist behaviour; acted like a bully; incited an invasion of the US Capitol to overturn what had been agreed by the States and Courts was a fair and free election; left his loyal Vice President exposed to the lynching intentions of a mob; separated children of migrants at the US border from their parents; denied Global warming; intentionally denigrated the free press; encouraged white supremacists ; mocked allies and dismissed a pandemic which thus far has killed over 500,000 Americans as a hoax, might be confirming a spiritual harvest of a different type, whereby millions of people around the world will not differentiate religion from faith and demonstrate with their feet by walking away from both?
Oh, and the rest of the story needs to include the part where Mr. Trump abandoned the US’s faithful Kurdish allies in Syria and left them to the mercy of Mr. Erdogan and another admired leader, the President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad; as well as the global platform he ineptly provided North Korea’s Supreme Leader who exulted in his elevation to relevance whilst conceding none of his nuclear capabilities.
In fact, Mr. Trump will do down as a twice Impeached President with 57 per cent of the Senate in round two voting to convict and many of the remaining 43 per cent expressing privately their agreement. But this is where civil discourse is meant to bridge the divide ; where differing opinions is a privilege. Perhaps in the end we should pray this Collect for Epiphany: ” Transform the poverty of our nature with the riches of God’s Grace” and / or agree with Chef Jose Andres who said: “ We need longer tables, not higher walls.”