The Donald’s Shaky Foundation

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who, deep in their core, are bolted to bedrock, and those who are loaded on wheels, on pontoons, on hang gliders, on whatever will allow them to roll downhill or to float with the winds whenever they come flying.

True, some flexibility is necessary; think how skyscrapers are designed to sway with the gusts, which is disconcerting to think about, but it beats the thought of the building snapping off in a gale, and we admire grace and a willingness to give a little. That giving stance however can only happen if one’s roots are deeply planted. Unless it is firmly and profoundly wedded to a holy foundation, the skyscraper can’t play willow in the breeze.

Neither can politicians. One of the many reasons conservatives have been so perturbed by our current president is his total lack of underpinnings --  he’ll do whatever he thinks he can get away with. No limits, no law, and an ideology that’s completely divorced from reality. This has made us all very anxious, and when people live long in fear, anger eventually emerges.

Enter the Donald. I, too, have enjoyed listening to his bombast, his insults, his belligerent promises. It’s been a relief to hear our national anger voiced. But we’re at the point in this election where we need to be looking at him not as a spokesperson, as a safety valve, but as a job applicant, and job applicants have resumés; they have concrete, doable plans, and clear policies. I’m afraid that Trump’s platform can be (if I can mince the oath here) summed up thus: “Forget them!” 

That does strike a nerve. People who would gladly give up our freedom for a rent check don’t deserve anything any better. Yes – F them. I agree; middle finger up. I’ve had all I can take of being called a racist, bigoted homophobe. I’ve had all I can handle of irrational conversations, whining demands, and starry-eyed utopians. I’m tired of being told that I have to feel guilty and hate my country. I’m done.

But I can’t tell if the Don is for or against the activities of Planned Parenthood. I can’t imagine how he’s going to make Mexico pay for the border wall. His stance on healthcare jangles all my neurons -- how can anyone want single-payer healthcare and claim to be a conservative? Trump is like mercury; try to corral him and he scoots deftly out of the way.

Where are this man’s foundations? They don’t seem very deep and he doesn’t seem to be connected to them in any earthquake-proof manner. He’s really attached to the idea of “making deals,” which makes sense; that’s what he good at. But is that the job we have open right now? I don’t think so. America isn’t up for negotiations; we’ve had unstable -- been there, done that -- and it made us mad.

And, only addicts fight a hangover with the same liquor that got them there in the first place. Obama promised “hope and change,” whatever that meant. The Don says he wants to “make America great again,” but he’s not going to do that with liberal causes emblazoned on his banner. He isn’t going to do that “doing deals.” America made the mistake of buying Obama’s hope-n-change mantra without even asking, what he meant by change. Over half of America’s voters were not at all bothered by his promise to “radically transform America,” no one asked him how, let alone why. Folks swooned when he spoke in grandiose and messianic terms -- “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for!” Really?

Obama had tapped into the media-induced Bush-hatred. The Donald knows this and he’s upping the ante -- he’s tapping into that and to the vast right-wing Obama-hatred, but his official site only lists policy statements on five issues. He says nothing about education, about free speech, about how he’ll handle ISIS, about auditing the Fed, about the brewing prewar mess in the Middle East, about Israel.

On the other hand, there’s Ted Cruz, who not only lists clear positions on nine different issues, but also links to information about what he’s already done in those areas and to articles he’s written on those issues. He not only stands, as does Trump, for the Second Amendment, but also for the First. He has policy statements on Israel and on foreign policy in general, not just on China and trade issues. And none of his ideas are radically different from anything he’s said in the past. This man is bedrock. Trump is a can rolling down the street; he makes a lot of noise, but he won’t stop rolling long enough for us to read the fine print on the label.

We all know in our gut that this election will make or break this nation; we’ll either trot along after failed European countries or the American people will prove how viable our system is and how fixable our problems are. Either/or -- and I can’t tell if Trump is really aware of that stark contrast, or has the ability to do anything about it.

I also can’t tell if the Donald is operating on anything but human energy, or if he has a relationship with God that will give him access to divine assistance as he faces a multitude of frightening, existential decisions. Cruz was raised with that connection to the Almighty; it’s deeply ingrained in his psyche. I don’t think it is for Trump and the problems that face this country are going to need more than human solutions. We don’t need a preacher-in-chief; we don’t need to all shape up and be Baptists, but we do need to know that the most powerful man in the world can talk comfortably with the Father when he needs to.

It’s taken me a while to come to this conclusion. The Donald has the advantage of his flash-and-dazzle bravado, and the heart of America was formed with goodly dash of that of that Wild Bill Hickock showmanship -- it resonates with most of us, and it may take that to grab the shallow, angry vote. But Ted Cruz is solid; with him at the helm the Ship of State will be able to slice through the storms that are forming just over the horizon.

Also deep in the heart of America is that reliance on the God of the Bible, on the importance of freedom and the rule of law, on integrity and determination, on courage and truth. Remember that Superman, in his everyday life was a “mild-mannered reporter.” Little by little people are beginning to realize that Cruz will, when the time is right, loosen his tie in a phone booth and fly to the rescue. I can hardly wait.

Deana Chadwell is an adjunct professor and department head at Pacific Bible College in southern Oregon. She teaches writing, logic, and literature. She can be contacted at

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