Whether you are a friend or foe of President Trump, there's no question that his political presence has produced unprecedented shaking and upheaval. How do we explain this phenomenon, and just how widespread is it? And is it possible that the Trump presidency is directly connected to women coming forward with claims of sexual abuse at the hands of the rich and powerful?
During last year's presidential campaign, Lance Wallnau, an evangelical strategist and speaker, wrote a best-selling book in which he described Donald Trump as "God's Chaos Candidate." (The full title of the book was: God's Chaos Candidate: Donald J. Trump and the American Unraveling.) Wallnau also likened Trump to a divinely appointed "wrecking ball" against political correctness (and more). How much upheaval has President Trump brought in his wake?
Before getting into details, let me explain how it is that certain people have the effect of bringing hidden or suppressed things to the surface.
In biblical terms, and with wholly positive connotations, the Lord told His people that He would come as a "refiner's fire." Such a fire reveals the impurities of gold and silver when they are tossed into the mega-hot flames. (See Mal. 3:1-5.) The precious metals may look fine to the naked eye, but once they're subjected to the super-heated fire, all the dross rises up to the top, making for an ugly sight.
To use another biblical image, an old Jewish man named Simeon prophesied over the baby Jesus that, through Him, "the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed" (Luke 2:34-35). Jesus, by His words and deeds, would expose the secrets of people's hearts, as they came out radically for Him or against Him. When He came to town, you found out who people really were and where they really stood.
When it comes to Donald Trump, his strengths are as glaring as his weaknesses, and people line up to bless him or curse him based on whether they admire his strengths or despise his weaknesses.
So, in stark contrast to Jesus, whose perfections brought things to the surface, it is President Trump's imperfections that are bringing things to the surface today. But when someone like Trump comes on the scene, speaking his mind whether you like it or not, neutrality quickly vanishes. Sides are taken, and with great passion. Lines are drawn, and with great force. Inner thoughts are openly spoken, with little restraint or nuance.
This is part of the Trump effect, part of the wake that follows in his path.
Consider the effect on the media. The divisions between right and left, conservative and liberal, have never been clearer than they are today. It is almost impossible to be neutral to Trump. Those who are against him are really against him—overtly, consistently, doggedly, unashamedly. Those who are for him are really for him – always defending him, always taking his side, with no apologies or explanations needed.
In the larger world of politics, not only have Democrat and Republican divides deepened, but there are now cracks and fissures within the president's own party, separating the old guard from the new, the swamp dwellers from the swamp drainers. Trump is just as likely to feud with Paul Ryan or Mitch McConnell as he is with Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer. Does anyone recall something like this under Presidents Obama, Bush II, Clinton, Bush I or Reagan?
Looking at the society as a whole, the Trump phenomenon has heightened racial divisions, ethnic divisions and even gender divisions.
Personally, I do not believe that the president is a white supremacist or a "male chauvinist pig," but his nationalistic appeals, his siding with the police rather than the victim (just as President Obama often did the opposite), and his history of sexist remarks make him into an easily caricatured figure.
Accordingly, because of Trump (and I'm neither blaming him nor praising him), both the alt-right and the radical left have emerged out of the shadows with much greater definition. And because of Trump, more and more women have decided to speak up and speak out, shouting to the world that he is not fit to be their president. This much is self-evident and hardly big news.
But is it possible that it is this very atmosphere that has led to so many women coming forward to accuse everyone from Harvey Weinstein to John Conyers of sexual misconduct? Is it possible that this is another aspect of the divinely-appointed "wrecking ball" role of Trump?
Of course, the timing could be completely coincidental, perhaps related more to the Bill Cosby allegations than to anything else. At the same time, it's a bit uncanny that, with so much in our society shaking since candidate (and now President) Trump came on the scene, Hollywood and Congress are being shaken with sexual allegations.
If this is the case, and the Trump presidency means that there will be a whole lot more shaking going on, then here's a word to the wise: Make sure your own house is in order, since your house might be the next to shake.
Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Evangelicals at the Crossroads: Will We Pass the Trump Test? Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter, or YouTube.
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