Donald Trump’s ego is a problem that we cannot hide from

I took a bit of heat for my post last week criticizing Donald Trump’s focus on ego over policy, so let me take this opportunity to not apologize, and also to double down.

My post was defending Trump against accusations that he is a fan of extremist groups and conspiracy theories. That accusation has come from both Never Trump “conservatives” and the Left, and the allegation is both unfair and untrue. Trump is not and extremist or an ally of extremists. He is actually a pretty mainstream conservative, when you look at the policy he has implemented as President.

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Wearing masks: Can’t we all just get along?

A couple weeks ago, I went to the grocery store to pick up a few things. When I got there, I realized I forgot to put another mask in my vehicle after I had washed the other one, and I had to go home and get a new one. This was annoying, so believe me when I say I understand how wearing masks can be annoying, especially in a worship service. I understand why people would chafe at being told to wear a mask to retard the spread of COVID-19, but I do not understand the intensity of those feelings.

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Of course intent matters when judging actions

Hypothetical scenario: Bubba is driving to work, and he strikes and kills a pedestrian in an unavoidable accident. Will Bubba face criminal charges? No, he will not, and while the death is a tragedy charging Bubba would be an injustice. However, Bubba would face charges if he was being reckless. He would face more severe charges if he intentionally ran someone over and killed him.

Everyone instinctively knows that intent matters when it comes to civil and criminal liability for harmful actions. It is the very foundation of our criminal justice system. Details of the order aside, the basic orientation of Donald Trump’s reforms of regulations about killing birds was good and just.

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Just wear the mask!

Here is a helpful guide on how to make a nuisance of yourself by lying about your medical condition.

Just wear the mask. It’s not that big of an imposition on you, and you spend way more time trying to find a way around it than you would if you just obeyed the order.

Here’s the other thing: There are people who have legitimate medical exemptions to wearing a mask, and when you have a bunch of jerks lying about phantom medical conditions it makes it much more difficult for those people. If enough people do this, stores will just require everyone present a doctor’s note at the door. It is totally ridiculous.

Is Donald Trump the QAnon President?

I remember when Donald Trump was reluctant to denounce the “alt right” back in 2016, and there was a great deal of consternation about it. I was personally very disturbed by the way Trump dealt with the alt-right. Was the Republican Party’s nominee for President really sympathetic to a loose coalition of racists, anti-Semites, conspiracy theorists and such? Well… no. Not really.

This is something you have to understand about Trump: The man is an egomaniac. He is in love with himself and his own image. He adores anyone who praises him, for that reason. This is why Trump will attack people who criticize him, even if they vote with him most of the time, while praising someone who votes against him on policy. Is this a good way to deal with politics? Is this a good way to get a policy agenda passed? Obviously not. But to understand Trump’s actions, you have to understand this about his personality.

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Democrats nominate Kamala Harris to be President

The nominees for Vice President have always been important, because there is always a chance that the VP will need to step up and become President. But the choice of running mate has never been more important than it is in 2020, due to Joe Biden’s age and health. It is highly likely that if you vote for Biden, you are actually voting for Kamala Harris to become President. With that in mind, let’s examine her record.

Let’s start with Harris’ record as a prosecutor. She covered up corruption in the police drug lab, sending innocent people to prison due to tainted drug test results. This resulted in over 600 cases getting overturned. She then claimed the judge in the case had a conflict of interest – a classic distraction tactic. Harris also refused to allow a DNA test in a capital murder case, which no one legitimately concerned with justice would ever do. Harris promised to be a prosecutor President. If that comes true, civil liberties are dead.

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Donald Trump, unreasonable “conservatives” and QAnon

Last week, I wrote that cynicism is the defining feature of our politics, especially since “we are quick to jump to the worst possible conclusion about something that person said or did.” We see that on display over at The Bulwark, where the writers never miss an opportunity to bash Donald Trump. This time, they’re attacking Trump for cozying up to QAnon wackos by congratulating a Republican for winning a primary.

This is what I mean. Rather than seek a charitable explanation, they assume the worst. But it is boringly normal for Republicans to support Republican nominees for office, as it is for Democrats to do the same for Democrats. Political parties exist to get their candidates elected, and almost always support their nominees. As the leader of the Republican Party, Trump is following that pattern.

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Quick note on conscience

From Doug Wilson’ blog post:

If the elders of a church require all the parishioners to wear a mask in order to come to worship, this is also binding the conscience.

This is where Pastor Wilson is wrong.

It is not his place to tell other churches what to do about wearing masks. That is their decision, not his. He should simply say that his church has chosen to not require masks, but that he respects the convictions of other churches who do require masks – especially when mandated by the civil magistrate.

Previously: Quick note on masks.

Civil disobedience, COVID-19 and the church

As soon as the government started issuing “stay at home” orders in response to COVID-19, there was discussion in Christendom about how to respond to that and when we should respectfully disobey those orders in order to serve God. What steps are reasonable? How can we make this easier on ourselves?

One way to make this easier is to show cooperation with and goodwill to civil authorities when they make less onerous and more reasonable orders, so that when we must disobey we are not seen as cantankerous or scofflaws. Government officials are human beings who respond well to respectful disagreement, especially when there has been cooperation in the past.

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