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Opinion | Politics and my conservative temptation

S. McEachin

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Before the election, Hillary Clinton labeled 50 percent of Trump supporters as “deplorables.” After the election, she doubled down in an interview by listing entire groups of people that she said his supporters were against. The terms not used for them, but certainly implied, were “racists” and “bigots.”

As to her original statement, I found it astounding that she would blindly allege at least a fourth (half of a half) of the electorate were bigots and/or racists merely because they voted for Trump. She did not even know them! That was bad enough, but then her later, less qualified double-down statement made me think she might have actually felt it was 100 percent!

I thought this was pretty “deplorable” stuff. Yet, after President Trump took office, I found myself resisting a similar inclination toward those always tearing down, not only anything Trump supported (even including his North Korea denuclearization efforts and efforts to cut down on medical fraud) – but also anyone else supporting Trump’s policies (I mean any one or more of those policy positions!).

My temptation was to believe that a lot of the people who vocally oppose Trump—and anyone supportive of anything associated—were possessed by hatred, i.e. were haters. The second level of this temptation was to hate them right back! Over time, the temptation grew due to a consistent pattern and my weak heart. The pattern involved descriptive terms those critics consistently used—accompanied by obvious teeth-gnashing vitriol. Moreover, I was especially tempted due to an expressed broad view of anyone and everyone seeing any positives associated with Trump—on issues or whatever.

This sweeping view included so many whom the critics did not know at all—just like Clinton’s “deplorables.” I once was told by a Trump critic that I could not be a Christian and support anything about Trump or anything he supported. That’s pretty personal. It did not help me resist my temptation at all!

Assuming only the worst of Trump at every turn, these people surely viewed him as a hater. Some literally stated it that way. With that in mind, a question dogged me: If you hate a hater, what does that make you? Moreover, what does it do to your heart in the long run? I believe that unabated hate undermines the heart, and breeds more hate.

I felt that some people hated President Obama, whether motivated by racism or big-issue differences. Hate was and is hate! As with Trump critics today, some of those Obama-bashers even broadly condemned those supporting Obama or his positions—hate growing from hate. Some said you could not possibly be a Christian and support policies reinforcing wholesale abortion.

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I was never tempted toward hating or judging Obama or his supporters, but I was tempted this time toward those judging or blindly hating other people approving of anything Trumpian. Of course, the fact that I was among the targets had no effect—ha! Yes, it got personal. That’s how temptation works, right?

I prayed about this temptation, and came to some firm conclusions: First, I am not going to hate anyone hating me. It undermines only me. Second, I am not going to judge anyone judging me. I am not qualified. Only One is qualified to judge, and it must be left to Him—enough said on my temptation! Oh, and one thing more: Issuing percentages for “deplorables” does no good. It never works!

 

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