by Elgin Hushbeck, Jr., Engineer, teacher, Christian apologist, and author of Preserving Democracy, What is Wrong with Social Justice?, A Short Critique of Climate Change, Christianity and Secularism, and Evidence for the Bible.
The Left has become unhinged. Like some sci-fi robot spinning around spewing sparks as it is unable to process the data given it, the Left has been unable to process the fact that Donald Trump was elected president.
Even though they had been highly critical of Trump during the campaign when he would not commit in advance to accepting the results of the election, from the moment Trump’s victory was announced many on the Left refused to accept it and began working to overturn the election.
Of course, there were the obligatory but meaningless protests that are the staple of the Left. As if the protests of a hundred thousand on the streets could overturn the votes of millions in the democratic process. Then some sought to challenge the election result themselves by demanding recounts even in some states where Trump won by comfortable margins.
When it became clear that this was not going to work, others tried to persuade some electors in the Electoral College to change their vote and thereby deny Trump the Presidency. When that failed, there was an effort to review the 25th Amendment and its means of removing a President who is unfit for office. When that likewise proved to be a dry hole, the focus became the meme that Trump had worked with Russia to rig the election and therefore should be removed.
Now there is no question that Russia tried to interfere in the election. That is not, or at least should not be, anything new or surprising. This was reported during the election itself and frankly Russia, like most governments, tries to influence other nations, one aspect of which includes trying to influence their elections.
What was surprising in the Left’s charge was not that the Russia meddled, but that they did so with the help of Trump. In short Putin and Trump colluded to rig the election. This would imply that the election was illegitimate and thus invalid and in theory Trump would be thrown out.
The main problem for the left in all this, was that while there is certainly evidence that Russia meddled, there is no evidence that their meddling was significant, i.e., that it changed the outcome of the election. Whether your view is that Trump won the election, or just that Clinton lost, they did so on their own. The Russians did not send Trump to the key Midwest swing states, nor keep Clinton out of them, nor did they have Clinton set up a secret email server and then constantly change her story about it.
But even worse for the Left is the fact there is likewise no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. What currently passes as “evidence” are innuendo and assumptions that would make Joseph McCarthy blush. A recent example would be the story about how investigators discovered 18 undisclosed contacts between those in the Trump campaign and “Russian officials and others with Kremlin ties.” At least in McCarthy’s day you had to be or have been a communist. Now you just need to get a phone call or email from someone in Russia to be suspect.
Despite all the air play this supposedly shocking revelation had, for those who went past the headline and actually read a few paragraphs into the story discovered that those who had actually seen them saw “no evidence of wrongdoing or collusion between the campaign and Russia in the communications reviewed so far.” But then why let such inconvenient facts get in the way of trying to undermine the Trump Presidency?
Nor is this story unique. While there are several investigations ongoing, those who have actually seen the evidence and have spoken up, have said so far there is no evidence of collusion. Such statements do not just come from the President’s supporters, but from his opponents like Democratic Senator Diana Feinstein, or Former FBI Director Comey. In fact, the lack of evidence has become so clear that at Comey’s hearing most of the questions on collusion came from Republicans, as Democrats seem to realize there is no evidence and have moved on to the much more nebulous and thus safer questions of obstruction. Meanwhile, other Democrats in Congress filed suit against the President because non-Americans sometime stay in Trump hotels and then also file an impeachment bill in the House just to top things off.
All of this would be little more that political theater except for the fact that increasingly overheated rhetoric and hate filled charges of traitorous behavior, undermining the country, stealing the election and the like, took a serious turn when a former Sanders supporter tried to kill Republicans at a baseball practice.
Neither side is completely blameless in the area of over-heated rhetoric and this event raises the question of where is the line? What is the difference between legitimate and illegitimate disagreement? I think there are two key factors to consider in the answer to this question.
First, particularly for Christians, is the truth. Are the charges made true or at least is there a basis for them beyond the political needs of the one making the charge? If this standard was applied to the Russian probe, it would disappear at least from the news, as there is no “there” there. One might argue that the investigations might come up with some evidence and while true, one could say the same thing about any charge made against anyone. Sure banks do get robbed, but there is no evidence that Obama robbed a bank, but the fact that in theory one might find some does not justify an investigation and Congressional hearings to see if any evidence could be found. Nor would it justify the changes of obstruction of justice if Obama complained about such an investigation. But that is essentially where we are with Trump and Russia.
The second, also an important one for Christians, is to love those you oppose and part of this is to give them the benefit of the doubt. Here the playing field is not quite as level. While there are certainly exceptions it has long been noted that while those on the Right tend to see those they disagree with as wrong, those on the Left tend to see those they disagree with as, in some fashion, morally corrupt.
Whether it be the minimum wage, Obamacare, etc, Republicans tend to argue that liberals are wrong and that their polices do not work or are harmful. Liberals, on the other hand, will tend to argue that conservatives do not care, are selfish, greedy, etc. In short that they are bad people. I would argue that being a bad person is significantly different than being a person who is wrong.
One would hope that the recent shooting would shake up the political leaders on both sides. The comment and actions of those in both parties following the shooting, including the statement of Ryan, Pelosi and Trump were a good step in the right direction.
Sure we will get back to our disagreements and arguments, but we should be careful to make sure that we value the truth more than our agenda and that we strive to see those on the other side of the
political spectrum as people who are just as good and caring as we are, but who have a different ideal as to what is the best thing to do. In short, that they are people with whom we simply disagree, and that is okay.