OK, now we know which National Disaster we have to try to mitigate. It isn’t the one we were expecting, but now we know. Time to get to work.
The pundits will be trying to figure out how they (and we) got the results so badly wrong for months. A couple of things are clear. First, more people are fed up with Business As Usual than we thought. That is what Secretary Clinton represented, and that connection has to be a major part of what did her in. Second, if Conservatives are inclined to gloat, I have a cautionary note for them. Guess who will represent Business As Usual in 2020? If Trump performs badly, the Republican Party will be effectively destroyed. If he performs better than expected, he will be hard to replace on the ticket. Either way, a true Conservative will have an Everest to climb to get into the White House–quite possibly a taller mountain than he would have faced after four years of Clinton. That may turn out to be the greatest damage the Trump victory will do.
In the meantime, Trump will be president. He is still morally, ideologically, and temperamentally unfit to occupy that office, but occupy it he will. We must therefore pray for him as we are commanded to do. We must pray that the good men and women he has promised to appoint to cabinet posts and the Supreme Court will actually end up there, and that their cooler heads will prevail over the loose cannon they will be working for. C. Philips argued here that those good men were not a sufficiently good reason to vote for Trump, given his proven character, and I think he was right. But those appointments and their boss are no longer a reason to decide; they are now a reality to be dealt with. And so if we love our country and are obedient to our Lord we must pray for them and hope that by God’s grace Trump ends up giving us a better presidency than he is capable of or than we deserve.
And, in the meanwhile, what else should we do? We should continue to support true Conservatives and learn to do better at articulating the sound and wholesome philosophy bequeathed us by the Founding Fathers that lies behind their positions. And we must–probably outside of a directly political context–try to teach and motivate people to care about ideas, and the positions and policies that flow from them, again. This means, among other things, supporting Christian education when it has both intellectual and spiritual integrity at levels we have not seen. It also means supporting Christian apologists and artists–especially the latter, because politics is downstream from culture. We must continue to call our Evangelical brethren back to spiritual reality, while getting better at incarnating it winsomely ourselves. Otherwise, without that cultural renaissance and religious reformation and revival, all our political efforts will be in vain. These indeed may be the highest mountains of all the ones we have to climb. The Stairs of Cirith Ungol could hardly be more daunting. But strap on your packs, cinch up your hiking boots, and grab your walking sticks, and let’s go!
Time to get to work.
Donald T. Williams, PhD, is R. A. Forrest Scholar at Toccoa Falls College in the hills of NE Georgia. He is the author of ten books, most recently Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis, due out from Square Halo Books December 1!