This morning I googled the phrase “Trump Era” and got 1,440,000 results. I did not read them all. The New York Times and the Washington Post, Fox News and the Drudge Report use the phrase. It’s descriptive and appropriate. We are six weeks away from a president who promises to be like no other president before him. To say that Donald Trump is unpresidential is simply a statement of fact. Precedents set by 44 previous presidents will be subject to wholesale disregard.
I think I’ll take a pass on the Trump Era.
An era is a period of time with particular features or characteristics. We’ve had eras of good feelings and eras of anxiety, eras of exploration and eras of empires. We don’t know what will be the particular features or characteristics of the unprecedented President Trump Era, though there’s been a lot speculation and worried anticipation. Like many others, I have my own set of worries about this unprecedented president.
In the Old Testament eras are referred to as “days.” “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes,” we are told of the era of the judges (Judges 21:25).
We don’t know, can’t know, what will mark the President Trump Era, but we do know about the Candidate Trump and President-Elect Trump Era. I don’t like the features and characteristics of that era. It is an era of dishonesty and broken friendships, of name-calling and personal attacks. It is an era that calls forth the lesser angels of our nature, to twist a phrase from our best president. There is a metastatic toxicity about this era. It scares me.
Of course, I can’t really take a pass on the Trump Era no matter what it brings. I’ll need to read the news and study policies, listen carefully, speak wisely, and act faithfully. In some ways, none of us will be able to take a pass on the Trump Era. In other ways we can and we must.
There’s more than policy decisions, more than even Donald Trump to the era that now bears his name. I want to pass on the dishonesty and broken friendships, the name-calling and personal attacks of this era. One of the things that scares me about the Trump Era is how it temps us – it temps me – to dishonesty and broken friendships, name-calling and personal attacks. It calls forth the lesser angels of our nature. Tweets and Facebook posts become weapons of personal destruction.
Last night someone in my social media network posted a brief note, “Trump is a pathetic (expletive) who tweets without thought. What a thin-skinned piece of junk!” I know the better angels of this person’s nature, and her post without thought does not reflect that better nature. She does not need to give in to the spirit of this new era, to the chaos of these days when everyone does what is right in their own eyes.
They are calling these days, this time in which we live, the Trump Era. It is our era. But I choose not to be defined by it. I choose not to give in to it.
In Psalm 35, David writes,
But I trust in you, O LORD;
I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in your hand… (Psalm 31:14-15 ESV)
That is my choice – to allow my times, this era, to be in God’s hands. This we know, God will not allow dishonesty and broken friendships, name-calling and personal attacks when the times are in his hands.
So, yes, I’ll take a pass on the Trump Era.
See you Sunday.