Excerpt from my soon-to-be-published book, “When Minorities Lead in America: A Black Theologian’s Political Journey.”
Donald Trump is president-elect. He won the 2016 Presidential Election although Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. My first reaction was shock, devastation, depression, and fear. Widespread predictions of a Democratic victory were wrong. I am fearful of the future and overwhelmed by the prospect of losing the progress minorities gained over the last twenty years.
It is possible that the Supreme Court will become majority Republican. Donald Trump could appoint several justices during his first four years as President. Roe V. Wade could be reversed and freedom to obtain legal abortions lost. White Supremacy groups endorsed Donald Trump and Trump was slow to say he did not want their support. Over the next four years our hard-won civil liberties may be threatened.
More aggressive moves by state legislators could further threaten minorities’ freedom to vote. More state legislatures have turned Republican with agendas that work against poor people and people of color. Governmental assistance for the poor could be drastically cut. Donald Trump said he will reverse the Affordable Care Act, which is Obamacare health insurance. Millions of Americans could lose affordable medical insurance and be victimized once more by profit-driven insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies. Social Security and Medicare are in danger of reduction and their funds invested in the stock market. If the stock market loses money, millions of Americans will lose benefits.
I am concerned about justice for minorities. Under a Trump administration, the police and the criminal justice system might focus even more ferociously on criminalizing African Americans, Latinos, Asians, American Indians, Muslims, and other minorities. Law enforcement officers would increase arrests of minorities. Police will operate as if it were open season to kill minorities. The thought of increased assaults on minorities is terrifying. Yet there are positive signs.
Activists mentioned on the MSNBC AM Joy Show that they are hopeful. The results of this election will mobilize more citizens to become politically active. They will fight more than ever before for control of the ballot box. After all, Hillary Clinton did win the popular vote.
There has never been a better time for coalition building among unlikely partners. The vast number of Muslims will join liberal whites, Latinos, LGBTs, African Americans, Native Americans, Asians, and other ethnic groups to retake the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. An activist on the show said, “This is the last gasp of White Supremacy. Let them have this dance and they will dance badly.” I perceived that the activist meant that Trump administration policies and Republican-led legislation will be so extreme and egregious that the public will mobilize to replace extremist politicians with moderate politicians.
The horizontal view, which is narrow, limited and myopic, focuses on human to human struggles, and leaves us subject to arbitrary elements, almost like a roll of the dice. It views the world as ruled exclusively by humans and discounts the idea that God exists and is working in time and space to achieve His ends. It seeks to solve problems through logic and reason. Viewing the future horizontally caused me to be depressed and feel powerless to solve the potential problems ahead.
Emotions change, however, when we look at the Trump presidency through a vertical view, which acknowledges that God is in total control, not humans. Accepting that God loves everyone, and has the final say is comforting. God was with Daniel when the king threw him into a lion’s den. An angel of God changed the nature of lions in the den and none of them attacked Daniel. When the three Hebrew boys were thrown into a fiery furnace, Jesus Christ joined them in the flames and rendered the nature of the flames powerless to harm them.
When Ronald Reagan became president of the United States, I lived through his racist acts. God granted me a relatively painless set of circumstances during his presidency. As He did with the Reagan and Bush administrations, God will protect minorities and poor people through a Trump presidency. According to Scripture, God selects leaders who know God, and who do not know God.
When Trump became president-elect I prayed, “God, I know you are real and that you are in charge of everything that occurs on the earth. I trust you with my life. Rather than ring my hands in frustration, I look to you to see us through this experience. I’ve made up my mind to trust you. Please touch Trump’s heart to do the right thing toward minorities.” I pray for president-elect Trump and for those he picks for his cabinet. I rest in the peace and assurance of knowing that God is in control and I encourage other minorities to put their trust in God.
Horizontal thinking, the belief that humankind is wholly in control, creates anger, frustration, fear, and depression when we ponder the future of minorities. Vertical thinking allays our fears because it reassures us that God is in control of everything and everyone. God loves us all, and God will rescue us when we call on Him.
Dr. H. J. Fountain Jr.