Post-Orlando, Trump Reveals His Soul

There’s a post at Eclectablog with an interesting insight about the 2016 campaign, inspired by this pro-Clinton ad:

As the post explains, this ad discusses a Trump attack on a disabled journalist, and the effect it has on the parents of a disabled child—named Grace, of all things:

The focus here, Greg Sargent explains, is on “Trump’s personal cruelty — not just in business, but also from the perch of his newfound media dominance.”

It’s also a larger critique of what Trump presents as “strength.”

To Trump being strong is being willing to offend you want and brutalize anyone who hurts you. It’s the core of a philosophy that justifies torture and advocates for the killing of innocent women and children.

This ad points doesn’t touch on Trump’s race-baiting and religious bigotry, which triggers all sorts of primal fears and summons up decades of conservative “dog whistle” frames. It just says: here’s a man who when challenged attacks the most vulnerable person he can find; here’s a man you cannot trust to look out for your family’s interests.

I think the author (Jason Sattler, under his pseudonym LOLGOP) makes a fair point in arguing that this election will turn on definitions of strength. Can America find strength in Trump’s alpha-male style? Or is it better to trust in Hillary Clinton’s less-showy connectional leadership? It’s a decent lens for understanding the 2016 narrative. We’ll make the decision between the different visions of strength soon enough, and I suspect largely along gender lines.

Or perhaps along religious lines. Check out this sample of what Trump has been saying since the massacre in Orlando, all via @JohnJHarwood on Twitter:

Trump on Fox: “we have to be extremely strong about looking at the mosques”

Trump on Fox: “we have to really increase the bombing”

Trump on Obama approach to terrorism: “not tough, not smart or he has something else in mind”

Trump: “I’m calling for strength, I’m calling for intelligence. we need very strong surveillance”

And all of this is aside from Trump’s own tweets on the subject:

Horrific incident in FL. Praying for all the victims & their families. When will this stop? When will we get tough, smart & vigilant?

Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!

What has happened in Orlando is just the beginning. Our leadership is weak and ineffective. I called it and asked for the ban. Must be tough

I have been hitting Obama and Crooked Hillary hard on not using the term Radical Islamic Terror. Hillary just broke-said she would now use!

So there you have it: Trump’s definition of strength is a crude domination. He’s not satisfied with simply calling for indiscriminate bombing and torture against organizations like ISIS; he wants to ban all Muslims, even refugees, from entering the United States (despite the Orlando shooter being born in the US). Perhaps even more disturbing, Trump’s machoism versus ISIS is continuous with his desire for dominance over his political opponents. Every turn in the story affirms his superior intellect or his ability to “break” Hillary Clinton.

The more I think about it, the more that little girl’s name seems almost too good to be true. What greater contrast could you draw than between a man determined to rely on his own potency and a powerless girl named Grace? Paul writes:

[The Lord] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.

And in another letter, “God’s weakness is stronger than human strength….God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.” That certainly seems to be the case here. You don’t need an AR-15 to shoot up a nightclub to prove your masculinity, or the power of your morality. To paraphrase Pres. Obama, the nation doesn’t need to water the tree of liberty with the blood of children, or of club-goers in their place of sanctuary. Nor does it need to show its strength by carpet-bombing, torture, and bullying political adversaries. None of this is strength, not in the eyes of the God I know. Grace is strength.

I’m not exactly in the business of giving advice, but it seems to me like some enterprising religious lefty could really pick this theme up and run with it.