Trump and Obama are Not Equal Opposites

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It’s an unmistakeable trend in conservative political commentary to assert that Trump is merely the answer to Obama. Some of these folks simply hated Obama and couldn’t get rid of him, and now they like to say it’s progressives’ time to suffer the same. Unfortunately, claiming that the Obama era was just as sufferable for conservatives as is the Trump era for progressives indicates a mind-baffling disconnection from reality. One may not have liked Obama’s policies, but policy alone is not the problem here. Trump and Obama are not equal and opposite political forces. No. The unending corruption-quagmire that is @realDonaldTrump is not limited to policy differences. It is preeminently a character issue and rejection and re-labeling of reality as “fake news.” It is utter contempt for truth, honesty, integrity, transparency and humility. It is plain, self-serving corruption. It is a willingness to say anything and then cheat the very people who so easily believed his words and voted for him. No. In order for him to be a worthy and equally potent “answer” to Obama, Trump would have to be intelligent, thoughtful, reasonable, honest, and have at least a modicum of integrity irrespective of political differences. In that sense, Obama and Trump are not equal political opposites. At all. Of course a person can believe that former President Obama is of a similar deplorable intelligence and character as Trump, but making such claims requires more than simplistic accusations and feelings. It requires evidence of equal weight and quantity, and it is incumbent upon political conservatives to support their claims if they want critical thinkers to take them seriously. I don’t think conservatives  can (or that most would even dare to try), but of course I remain committed to following the best evidence wherever it leads.

Unfortunately, Trump is not the source of the rot in present American politics. He is a symptom. Trump merely (and successfully) tapped into an issue that has been brewing in the United States.  People who voted for Trump are the source of this problem, especially those who still uncritically support him and construct mindless arguments to excuse him. The problem is an ongoing willingness of any voter to give Trump a pass on his behavior, language, and character. People who have happily sacrificed truth and justice when it doesn’t suit their purposes and desires are the problem. People who fail to think critically about narratives which play into their fears, prejudices, greed, and political loyalties are the problem. People whose entire defense of Trump consists of pivoting towards Hillary, or Obama, or Al Gore, or Nancy Pelosi, or liberals… these people are the problem.

If we, both as a nation and as individuals, actually want to become “great,” it absolutely requires a renewed, serious, and unlimited commitment to truth, integrity, and accountability for ourselves and our President (as well as all offices and branches of power that govern us). It requires that we take responsibility for our own poor choices, gullibility, and prejudices, and that we work hard to correct them. It requires that we recognize and reject the fallacy of false equivalency or the belief that opposing viewpoints are equally valid, even if one side is objectively true and the other is not. It is past time for us, both collectively and as individuals, to decide that we are going to grow up, take responsibility for the problems WE have created (or at least enabled), call them out, and fix them.

Given the current state of affairs, willful ignorance, and electoral tribalism, I have almost no hope that we will be able to do that. Ultimately, I can only take responsibility for my own behavior (and I will continue to do just that to the best of my ability), but I hope that others will join me in a rejection of political insanity and delusion. At present (and at voting time), that requires a rejection of Donald Trump and any other candidate of any party who preys on our willingness to trash reality, truth, and integrity for political power. Trump is merely a symptom of the problem that is us. We must do better.

-CL

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About C_Lambeth

I currently live in the Pacific Northwest. I graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor's of Science and from George Fox Seminary (now Portland Seminary) with a Master's of Divinity. In addition to knowing Christ and helping others know him, I am passionate about peace, the environment, Christian feminism, justice for all (not just the wealthy) and being a lifelong learner. Please feel free to comment on any of the posts here or to suggest new posts altogether. Thank you for reading me! -CL
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3 Responses to Trump and Obama are Not Equal Opposites

  1. C_Lambeth says:

    My partner mentioned that this post could be somewhat ambiguous with regard to contrasts between Obama and Trump. For example, if they are not “opposites” does that mean they are “equals?” Umm. That’s a potentially pretty big fail on my part, so allow me to try and dispense with any ambiguity. In one, all encompassing sense, yes, these two men are TOTAL opposites. Obama is not just a Democratic President. He is also an intelligent, reflective, compassionate, principled and learned leader who understands history, economics, foreign policy, and domestic issues. Obama also is a man of great character who has priorities that exceed mere financial gains and myopic, short-sighted economic models.

    For his part, Trump couldn’t be any more of an opposite, for he is not just a Republican president. Trump is a halfwit puppet, incapable of honest self-reflection and unable to be empathetic. He is unprincipled and ignorant, lacking even the most basic grasp of history, economics, foreign policy, or domestic issues. It is equally obvious to anyone willing to accept reality that Trump’s character is as corrupt and self-serving as they come. He doesn’t just prioritize money-making and narrow-minded, short-sighted economic models, but only those which will serve to enrich himself, his family and his campaign donors. In that regard, yes, Donald Trump is the complete opposite of Barack Obama. My mistake.
    -CL

  2. Martin says:

    You know you’re flying the flag upsidedown, right?

    • C_Lambeth says:

      Yes.
      It is also a reversed image… inverted. Thanks for noticing the subtle nod to Resistance.

      PS: Are you aware that “upside down” is actually two words?

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