The Big Takeaway from 2016, and What it Means for 2017


I’m noticing a lot of doom-and-gloom moping in other editorials summing up 2016, mostly because Donald Trump won the election, and a lot of celebrities died. Morbidity and mortality aside, the thing that most vividly stands out to me from 2016 was the ludicrously wild inconsistency. Some of the loudest voices clamoring for subjective morality and tolerance have suddenly become the loudest voices clamoring for absolutism and rejection.

Now, as long as I’ve been alive, I’ve heard relativists insist that there is no absolute truth, and then instantly demand absolute adoption of their viewpoint. I’ve seen radicals insist on total and complete tolerance for everything, and then in the same breath demand that someone else be violently un-tolerated. I’m no stranger to double standards and incoherent oxymorons, but 2016 exceeded all my expectations for such lunacy.

As you might guess, most of it revolved around the presidential election, but things didn’t get really crazy until after the votes were cast. You want some examples? In early December an architectural group floated an idea to hide the Trump Tower logo with giant inflatable pig balloons, in order to protect the sensitive eyes of New Yorkers from that micro-aggression that is the name of their President-Elect.

After calling Trump hateful and illogical, they described their balloon plan as “a gesture in support of those of more rational, optimistic and inclusive minds.” But apparently minds that aren’t optimistic enough to handle reminders of the election results, or inclusive enough to stand the sight of a hated name. This is more a gesture of stopping one’s ears and pretending not to hear.

Which brings us to the mainstream media. Certain TV networks knowingly released heavily-manipulated polls, and then seemed legitimately surprised when these turned out to be inconsistent with reality. These large and established networks promised to get the bottom of the mysterious election results, which is kind of like the fox explaining why putting foxes in charge of the chicken coop didn’t work out. Their conclusion? The problem was “Fake News,” created by less-reliable journalists than themselves.

Hillary’s own campaign released some even more heavily-doctored polls, and seemed even more surprised when those weren’t accurate either. It was like the entire Left-wing crowd forgot not to trust their own propaganda, but their biggest shock was when their very own strategy of identity politics backfired on them.

Ever since the 60’s, leftist politicos have suggested that people should get their political ideals from some larger group bandwagon, not from personal principles or conscience or thinking, or anything like that. These group bandwagons, in turn, should get their ideals and identities from, well, leftist politicos.

For the last few decades we’ve all seen these special interest groups being endlessly defined and re-defined, sometimes tiny minorities being split into even tinier minorities, sometimes whole blocks of them getting “unified” under a new label so they could be convinced to vote for new things. It’s like gerrymandering, but for people’s minds.

In the middle of November, Michelle Obama went on TV and reminded viewers that all black people must vote a straight Democratic ticket, regardless of who is on that ticket or what they might have done or said in the past. A few weeks later, political commenters were deeply, deeply offended that many white people had voted Republican, regardless of what some guy on that ticket had done or said. It just wasn’t fair for uneducated white people – not an officially recognized group – to vote as if they were part of a group.

Then the blame-shifting revealed more inconsistencies! When China stole millions of military and intelligence records by hacking the Office of Personnel Management, President Obama said little and did nothing. When Russian hackers grabbed a few private emails of the Democratic Party, he expelled Russian diplomats and applied swift, stiff sanctions.

To be fair, the Red Chinese only took all the documents describing the security clearances and backgrounds of all of our soldiers and spies, merely jeopardizing their lives at home and abroad, while the Russians may have been trying to commit the ultimate international offence: influencing an election. Oh, by the way, does anyone remember that time Obama made an official visit to the U.K. just so he could tell Freeborn Englishmen how they should vote on Brexit?

I could go on and on. 2016 brought us no shortage of hypocrisy. The ridiculousness of an all-inclusive political correctness that demands we say nice things about a mass-murdering tyrant like Fidel Castro and boycott the next Presidential Inauguration is painfully self-evident.

Unfortunately, the media, the DNC, and the progressives don’t have a monopoly on hypocrisy. We conservative Christians have been plenty inconsistent on our own. We were quick to condemn Obama for his transsexual bathroom policy, but strangely quiet when George W. Bush appointed our first homosexual ambassador. I heard many complaints about the recent Executive Order protecting Planned Parenthood, but very few comments about the billions of dollars that Bush gave them during his two terms.

The problem is that we’ve fallen victim to identity politics too. The media told us that George Bush was “our guy” in the White House, and so we accepted the DHS, the TSA, and the Patriot Act right up until the “other guy” took over. Today, we’re being told that Trump is “our guy.” After all, the same folks that made up those great pre-election polls have some new polls proving that more evangelicals voted for Trump than any other President since Constantine.

Personally, I don’t buy that, but it really doesn’t matter. I so enjoyed watching the media panic on election night that I almost wished I had voted Trump. It’s been so fun watching the progressives wig out as he pokes holes in their precious political correctness that I kinda want him to be “our guy.” I have so much hope that he’ll keep roasting sacred cows that I’m starting to think of him as “our guy.”

But that’s not an option for Christians. Unlike the relativists who are blown about by every wind of inconsistent political theories, we have an unchanging, perfect, Transcendent standard. We don’t have to blindly follow a set political party, and we don’t get to relax and let whoever “our guy” is this term define right and wrong for us. Our God has already done that, and He doesn’t like hypocrisy.

This will be the big challenge for Christians in 2017. It’ll be hard to overcome the temptation to claim that we won that last election. It’ll be hard to demand that our representatives offer more than mere lip-service to Christian morality. It’ll be hard not to leta few things slide here and there if we think they could be strategic retreats. It’ll be hard not to just shrug off the problems that “our guys” have just because they are “our guys.” But if we fail on any of these points, we’ll be just as inconsistent and hypocritical as everyone that we laughed at last year.