Last week Michaele asked me if I was ready to write another column. After rolling my eyes, I told her I would try. And I did. I sat at the computer for 2 hours and finally realized there was nothing my brain wanted to express. But, after a week of COVID-19, my brain is filled with thoughts to articulate, but my heart is apprehensive. But as common with older women, the heart wins over the brain, and candor rules.
Shortly after Donald Trump was elected President, I read the book; Choosing Donald Trump (God, Anger Hope, and Why Christian Conservatives Supported Him) by Stephen Mansfield. It was a good read and it helped me understand why and how the bombastic, ill mannered, non-political Billionaire from New York could defeat 16 Republicans and a seasoned Democratic Opponent. Among many other things I learned was that Trump was raised by a father who was devoted to work and family but was quicker to criticize than to praise. Fred Trump wanted his children to win and constantly told them they could succeed if they tried. Early in life, Donald believed in fighting back, hitting hard, apologize for nothing, and always be ready for another round.
While attending New York Military Academy the young Donald learned that winning wasn’t everything, it was the only thing, and the precocious Trump would do anything to win. In addition, Donald Trump attended the church of Norman Vincent Peele who promoted, even more than the saving grace of Jesus, that thoughts could change circumstances, and anyone could achieve anything if they could conceive of it. The Power of Positive Thinking was Peele’s most well-known book and made a great impression on Donald Trump, who Peele considered his greatest student.
After the death of Norman Vincent Peele, Trump was without a pastor until he met Paula White who later became a friend and the unofficial chaplain for the future President. White was as unconventional as Trump with her failed marriages and traumatic childhood, even though she was a gifted woman, co-pastor of a mega church, and was being mentored by the well- known T. D Jakes.
Years later it was White who organized meetings with Pastors when Trump had serious thoughts about running for President. During this time White scheduled meetings with prominent Protestant, Pentecostal, Jewish and Catholic leaders. The information Trump took away from the meetings was said to have prioritized his campaign and even shaped his presidency.
Topics discussed with the religious leaders included the suffering of Jews and Christians in the Middle East, terrible poverty of inner cities, The Johnson Amendment, and the threat in the country to traditional religion. The pastors also connected Trump with a multitude of religious conservatives who were angry and fearful that the United States, as they knew it, was slipping away. Conservatives wanted change and were committed to support even a man like Donald Trump if it meant saving the country. The rest is history as Trump won Conservative and Christians Votes by promising to give them their country back and to win a future for their children. As the book ended, the rest of the story had not yet been written.
Mansfield would not know that 4 million jobs were created, or that the stock market was the highest in history, and that African Americans, Hispanic, and women’s unemployment numbers were some of the lowest ever. Neither would he know about the constant investigations, impeachment, and total hatred found in the media, and throughout the country.
He also would not know that a deadly Pandemic would change the world. For sure it’s been a hard three years in this country as a divisive malaise has reigned. And there appears to be no resolution as those who love Donald Trump continue to defend him, and his opponents continues to dislike him with enthusiasm.
And, that brings me to the purpose of this column. Regardless of one’s political preference, or feelings toward the President at this somber time in our Country’s History, I am grateful to live in Williamsburg County. Even with our problems and differences, people tend to treat one another with kindness and consideration. We are a people of faith and will often put aside disparities for the good of all.
A spirit of community was evident at the Chamber Banquet recently when we all cheered for winners and greeted each other as friends. The community spirit was visible in the countless achievements of award winners as many of their accomplishments were directed toward helping and supporting others.
For such a time as this, we have a President who provokes his adversaries as he fights back while working tirelessly for this county. He is not going to change.
For such a time as this there is great spirit of division in this country along political lines and it’s not going to change. And lastly for such a time as this, there are many folks in Williamsburg County who care deeply for one another, who fight hard for their communities, who are faith driven and for now are COVID-19 free. I trust that does not change.