By Dr. Jim Ferguson
Who do you listen to these days? Perhaps you’ve quit listening all together. Most folks I know stay at least partially engaged in the events of the day, but sometimes I wonder. There is an excuse for being uninformed. Though we live in the Information Age, we nonetheless exist in the era of disinformation, and this turns people off.
For years I’ve been writing about the Civil War in our country. If you are unaware of this great divide then I believe you are uninformed. Even the TV talking heads acknowledge – and feed – the polarization. But now, this politicalization permeates virtually every aspect of our culture and civilization.
I once believed that facts are facts. Sergeant Joe Friday on the TV sitcom Dragnet famously asked for, “Just the facts, Ma’am.” I now realize that all facts are conditional because there is inherent observational bias in all humans. And these days all “facts” are politicized.
My old professor, Rufus Fears, said that effective leaders are able to present a clear vision, they have a moral compass, operate from a bedrock of principles and are able to gain consensus to realize their vision. Examples are Winston Churchill and FDR. Some might argue that these leaders existed in simpler times where the evils of Naziism and Japanese imperialism or the desperation of the Great Depression were more obvious than the political fault lines of our day. Nowadays you even have to define the context of “moral compass,” the notion of “principles” and who decides.
I am not a Biblical scholar, but I recognize the wisdom inherent in biblical stories. The founders of our country believed in the lessons of history. Apparently, our leaders do not because, like ancient Greeks and Romans, they continue to launch “preemptive” wars in the Middle East and around the world with disastrous consequences. I don’t believe modern man is inherently any different than humans of antiquity. We have more technology, we live longer and grow taller, but I do not believe we are wiser or nobler. In fact, because we ignore the lessons of history we are doomed to repeat them, paraphrasing George Santayana.
Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican president. He was pilloried and lampooned by the press. Like Valerie Jarrett and Sarah Sanders, Lincoln endured scurrilous attacks on his appearance. He persevered and won the Civil War, preserving the Union. You could say that he made America great again.
“In those days, Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit” (Judges 21:25). In the 13th century BC, the various tribes of the ancient Hebrews occupied the land of current day Israel. Their leaders were known as judges, and led the people against various Canaanite tribes and Philistines. You may remember some judges like Deborah, Gideon, Samuel and Samson. For a while the people remembered that God was their King and they prospered, but they forgot and disastrous consequences resulted.
Samson was a strong, but imperfect man. His strength lay in the locks of his hair because he had been consecrated to God as a Nazirite – not a Nazarene. When he confided to the Philistine temptress, Delilah, the source of his strength, he broke the covenant with God. God’s presence left him and he was captured by the Philistines, blinded and imprisoned. The story ends with Samson’s prayer and restoration of his strength to vanquish the enemies of the people.
Becky has been itching to attend a Trump rally, so when we heard the President would be in Nashville last week, I decided to tag along with three other red-blooded American women and see for myself what it was all about. I was the unofficial representative of the Knoxville Focus, so I was not issued a media pass. I stood in the drizzle with thousands of other people, gathered to go through security. We were thankful that Marsha Blackburn’s campaign passed out plastic rain ponchos for everyone in line.
The arena quickly filled, our seats were great and we enjoyed watching people, listening to music and various speakers and munching popcorn as we awaited the main event. Then, with a bit of musical fanfare (Lee Greenwood’s Proud to Be an American), the President strode out, sporting his characteristic red tie, smiling broadly and interacting with people.
His speech was extemporaneous and passionate. Trump exudes confidence and doesn’t need notes or a Teleprompter because his message comes from the heart. He is a gifted communicator, though his rhetoric is not lofty. He believes in America and is able to communicate this. And a personal touch is somehow delivered to individuals as he points to people in the crowd, recognizing some by name and frequently applauding individuals or groups. I have heard many speeches, but this one delivered in person was palpably different.
I won’t bore you with the details of the President’s message because you’ve undoubtedly already heard sound bites. However, as I sat there amidst thousands of supporters, I thought of “big hair” and imagined America’s Samson fighting the Philistines of the Washington Swamp.
As I have written before, Trump was not my first or second choice for President. However, I am now convinced he’s the right man, at the right time to lead our country. I might wish the man from Queens was a bit more genteel in his speech and tweets, but he is struggling against “the rulers and powers and forces of darkness” (Ephesians 6). The ruling class of Washington, the media, academia, Hollywood, Pelosi, Schumer and the rest of the Democrats, the leaders of the intelligence agencies, RINOs and never-Trumper’s are all working to delegitimize – or end – the duly elected 45th president of the United States. Language is not genteel in the trenches, in street fights and civil wars.
The Master once said that “If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory” (Luke 9:26). After personally measuring our leader, I am now a Trump supporter. I resolve to do what I can to help this Samson tear down the Philistine Temple of Washington’s Swamp and Make America Great Again.