Trump l’oeil

Really, I don’t care whom the Americans elect as their president — so long as it isn’t Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump. From correspondence, I gather many of my USA readers feel the same. (Others are harder to follow, through the obscenities.) They won’t be voting, and refuse to be intimidated by the argument that if you are against one, then you are ipso facto promoting the other. It is possible to be opposed to both; and while there may be jurisdictions in this world wherein one is compelled to vote, even those must contend with spoilt ballots. To vote “tactically” is to enmesh oneself more threadily in the selection of poisons.

The worst argument I have found for supporting Trump, specifically, or any candidate in any election, is that he will provide “hope” for some downtrodden constituency. As I opine in my Thing column today (here), “I think Trump would do for unemployed, blue-collar American whites, what Obama has done for the ghetto blacks: make their position considerably worse, within a society more fatally divided.”

Liberal mass media (not only in USA) make me want to support Trump, and may well help him to the presidency. Were I his political adviser I would tell him to bait them remorselessly. Happily, I am not. The media smears and misrepresentations of that candidate; their suppression of news unfavourable to the other — are an open goad to an electorate ever more inclined to do the opposite of what the media tell them. But I do not think one ought to be goaded, one way or the other, by writers of so low a moral and intellectual height. We should try to ignore them, even though, like pornography, their “journalism” is everywhere in our faces.

Given a choice only between two evils, one may be obliged to prefer the lesser one. But here there is no compulsory choice. The idea that one must vote in a democratic election is like the idea that one must choose between flood and fire. (Of course, once the firemen arrive, you may have both.) One might choose instead to prepare for either, and endure what comes.

And besides, an extremely low turnout can serve as an electoral statement.

Hope, in this world, is misplaced. The (attempted) appropriation of “hope” by politicians can leave only deep scars. The real choice is between religion and politics: ultimately between the teaching of Christ, and profane teaching. To be drawn into the political “narratives” is to be drawn out of the “narrative” for salvation. The good is available to direct, selfless human action; it cannot be delegated to class representatives, nor enforced through political coercion. Whether to Heaven or to Hell, no one goes involuntarily.

Thus, I do not advocate revolution, which can only be another political act. Instead I recommend an ever more conscious aloofness from political processes.

Verily: the exact opposite of what I am now reading from Rome, under the title, Humanam Progressionem.

We are all foreigners here; we are all the equivalent of “undocumented immigrants,” so far as this world goes. So far as we are Christians, we were baptized into another order. We must not allow ourselves to be tricked, by the flash hand of any politician, into pretending that we are citizens here.