I casually referred to Donald Trump as “Satan” yesterday. Yeah, like the Church Lady.
It isn’t unusual for me to resort to hyperbole. “Ugh – this guy in the Saturn is the slowest human being on earth.” “Oh, my, God, the lady in front of me at Kroger had two million coupons.” Or “I just ate an entire box of Girl Scout cookies.” (Okay, I only wish that one was hyperbole.)
When I commented on my friend’s social media page yesterday that Donald Trump was Satan, it was initially just my normal drama queen hyperbole. I thought I might catch some flack for it from some ignorant person who would actually support his nonsense, but fortunately for everyone, all of my friend’s friends either agree with her distaste for Trump or have unfriended her.
Normally I comment on posts much like I pass gas. I just let it go, and then don’t think about it unless someone says something. However, yesterday’s comment stayed with me. Do I really think Donald Trump is Satan? Note, I didn’t say he was LIKE Satan, I said he WAS Satan. In my head, I imagined a conversation with a slightly more rational person.(I do that from time to time. It keeps me from doing things for which I could be arrested.)
RP: “Oh, come on. Do you really think he is Satan?”
Me: “Yes. Yes, I do.”
RP: “As in, Prince of Darkness.”
Me: “Well, if he needs a title, then yes.”
My religious affiliation at this point in my life is tenuous, at best. I was raised with traditional conservative Christian beliefs – Sunday School Jesus, VBS, tent revivals. As a young adult, I bought into Republican Jesus – he wore a navy suit, looked like Joel Osteen, talked a lot about family values and was frequently a guest on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show. I never questioned that God was an old white guy, and I vaguely believed he lived in the sky. Subsequently, The Devil was a guy in a red unitard who bit the head off of bats and lived in a hot climate. (I have since determined that I had, indeed, mistaken him for Ozzy Osbourne.) At some point in my 30’s, I did an intense amount of soul searching, and my view of religion and its associated deities changed. While this is another story for another post, written perhaps when I’m dead and have figured life out entirely, suffice it to say that I no longer believe in the traditional Church Lady idea of a sky-living God, nor the inner-earth-dwelling Devil. While for the purposes of this post (and conversations with people who don’t know that I’m completely spiritually unfocused) I have referred to those deities by their proper names, I honestly just see “good” and “evil”. Just one letter different from God and Devil. It’s just a letter.
Back to Trump.
Let’s define God: Peacefulness. Love. Kindness. Compassion. Patience. Selflessness. It’s the place inside each person that reaches out with gentleness and produces acts of goodness.
Let’s define Satan: Hatred. Greed. Selfishness. Anger. Hostility. Bigotry. It’s the place inside each of us that lashes out in acts of violence, and with words and/or actions, causes fear and harm.
If each of us has the potential for good and evil within us, then we choose to portray either the proverbial God or Satan with each thing we say or do. Admittedly, I often portray both. We all do. And while I don’t know Trump personally, his discompassionate words from the campaign trail are clearly filled with hatred, greed, selfishness, anger, hostility, and bigotry, tipping him pretty far to the side of Satan, or at least his pitchman. Shame on Trump, who has always been a cheap salesman in an expensive suit, for selling such vileness, but moreover, shame on his supporters for buying it. Trump, like a heroin dealer or a con-artist, is offering whatever gets him the most money or fame, regardless of the destruction he leaves behind. Where have we gone as human beings that we can’t find the God inside of us that sees this for what it is?
That the joke of Donald Trump running for office has gone from ridiculous to reality is both telling and concerning. What it tells us is that we are looking dead in the eyes of a dumbed-down nation (as if the existence of reality TV didn’t already convince me of that years ago…) with a large constituency of people who want to see this sideshow freak as president, rather than to support someone who actually respects the office and the people of this nation. What is concerning is the giant “what if”? What if he really is elected? What if he has the power to control our military and our finances? What if he has the power to change laws?
RP: “Don’t you think you’re overreacting? To say that one person could have so much power – it’s not how this country is structured.”
Me: “Me? Overreact? Pshh. But in the words of Trump, himself, “You’re fired.” This is a demagogue with a history of using whatever it takes to promote his own status and wealth. He doubtfully would suddenly be concerned with the good of a nation or of the world, especially one not made entirely of people who are rich and white.”
So the God in me reaches out to the God in you, the reader, and even the God in Donald Trump. Namaste, ya’ll. Wake up the good inside of you, before it’s too late. What I’m saying is, no politician is beyond repair. No human being (even Trump) is all Satan, and no human being (even a progressive liberal) is entirely God. But each of us chooses the way we lean and whom we lean upon. We choose whether or not to treat others with kindness on a daily basis, and we choose those on whom we place esteem when we vote. Let those choices define you.
*Church Lady is totally and respectfully a Saturday Night Live property. Much love to them.