My pre-election opinion of Donald Trump was about as negative as I get about a candidate. Everything I knew about him was a scandal. He married three times. He had a penchant for pretty women and objectified women. His lecherous behavior shocked me. His self-aggrandizing even on silly things like his hands made him seem more like a cartoon than a real candidate. I watched CNN give him hours of free advertising as he steadily grew in the polls and knocked off respectable conservative opponents in the primary. I literally screamed at CNN as I watched them give this loathsome creature their airtime.
In the end, he dispatched all of my respectable candidates. He, the narcissistic newcomer, vanquished the likes of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. I now had to choose between fake pro-life Donald Trump (as I thought and still think him to be) and pro-abortion Hillary Clinton. Part of me said sit this one out. The rest of me chided that it was my duty to vote.
When it came time to cast my vote I hadn’t decided. I wanted to cast a vote for someone moral. I knew I couldn’t, so I turned it over to God. I grabbed strips of paper and wrote both candidates names on them. I grabbed more strips and wrote other people to write in, and the option to sit out. I wrote the names of Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and my husband. Catholics were heavily favored in this group and liberals decidedly at a disadvantage. I folded each one and put them in my dog’s bowl. I asked God in His Providence let me pick the right one. I closed my eyes and picked, Donald Trump. Unhappy and somewhat annoyed, I folded it back and said the equivalent of “you gotta be kidding me, God”. I shook the bowl vigorously, closed my eyes and out came Trump again. So, Trump, it was.
In the year of this Trump presidency, I have grown from being a very reluctant Trump voter to an enthusiastic Trump supporter. I love that the silly ugly wall project has been sidelined. I think it is awesome that he doesn’t want to rip immigrant families apart. He really has some of those nasty but somehow endearing old-fashioned Democratic tendencies. He is definitely not mentally ill, a reincarnation of Hitler, or selling us out to the Russians as the liberal media would have us think. My opinion of him after a year in office is that he is a patriot, a morally broken human being, a political neophyte, and a person somehow in a position of power by the intervening will of Divine Providence.
There are five things that have been especially important in his first year of office that Catholics should take special note of and may indicate my conclusion of Divine Providence:
- President Trump on May 4, 2017, issued an Executive Order that declared that his government would respect and protect the religious freedom of the people in this country. In this Order, the President states “the Department of the Treasury does not take any adverse action against any individual, house of worship, or other religious organization on the basis that such individual or organization speaks or has spoken about moral or political issues from a religious perspective..” This same Executive Order set out the Administration’s policy nixing the enforcement of the Affordable Health Care mandates requiring entities with conscience objections to provide contraception and abortion. This statement was very important to an organization like the Little Sisters of the Poor that were persecuted by the Obama Administration all the way to the Supreme Court (yes, those sisters may have been praying Hillary not be elected!)
- There is a case currently pending in the United States Supreme Court, Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. In this case, a devoutly Christian baker refused to design a wedding cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding for religious reasons. The same-sex couple complained to the Colorado anti-discrimination agency that found that the baker, Jack Phillips violated the public accommodations law. Colorado imposed some pretty severe sanctions on Jack and he appealed. He lost at the appellate level and the Supreme Court took up his appeal. The case has already been briefed, argued, and is awaiting a decision.I am betting that with the current makeup of the Supreme Court this case is not going to be decided in favor of religious freedom. That’s just my guess because the swing vote is Justice Kennedy (not a very reliable Catholic or conservative on cases involving homosexuals it seems for some reason). The difference Trump made is that the Solicitor General who intervened for the federal government argued on the side of Jack Phillips and not the religious anti-liberty side of Colorado. While it may not carry the day here it is a factor. One of the reasons that we now have the abomination of federally enshrined same-sex marriages is because the Obama administration refused to defend the Defense of Marriage Act as it was supposed to do as one of its duties and instead argued the opposite side.
- Donald Trump appointed the conservative Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. The appointment of Supreme Court Justices is the primary reason to vote for a presidential candidate all things considered. Five unelected and for some reason insulated lawyers sit for life and impose crazy laws upon the rest of the 300 million of us. They are never removed from office. God willing, Trump will be able to appoint three more good justices during his term and bring the good justices to a solid majority of seven.
- President Trump reversed an Obama Administration directive that required public schools allow transgender students use the bathroom incompatible with their genitalia. First of all, the Obama Administration greatly enlarged the power of the federal government into a traditional local concern with this rule. Second, the chipping away of God-ordained labels of male and female in our civil law should be a concern for any religious person.
- Since President Trump took office over 15,000 sq. miles of territory controlled by ISIS has been reclaimed with over 15 million people liberated. Catholics in parts of Iraq were able to celebrate Mass this past Christmas because President Trump let loose the power of the American military and the smarts of our American military leaders. He promised he wouldn’t be nice to these bad people or apologize for us in the world, and real Catholics on the other side of the ocean are benefitting.
If this continues…no dog bowl necessary! Trump 2020.