On Ash Wednesday, the White House released a statement from President Trump. “For Catholics and many other Christians,” it reads, “Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenten season that concludes with the joyful celebration of Easter Sunday. Today, millions of Christians will be marked on their foreheads with the sign of the cross. The imposition of ashes is an invitation to spend time during Lent fasting, praying, and engaging in acts of charity. This powerful and sacred tradition reminds us of our shared mortality, Christ’s saving love, and the need to repent and accept the Gospel more fully. We join in prayer with everyone observing this holy day and wish you a prayerful Lenten journey. May you grow closer to God in your faith during this blessed season.”
These are remarkable words to come from a sitting president. But then, much of this presidency is remarkable. Donald Trump has ignited a movement that is unparalleled in modern times. His devil-may-care, go-for-the-jugular manner may not always be gentlemanly, but it’s effective. President Trump is not a perfect president, but he may be the perfect president for a country threatened by left-wing madness. As far as Catholics are concerned, his Ash Wednesday message should stand in contrast to the message coming from the Democratic hopefuls of Super Tuesday, offering some clarity in the confusion and a strong indicator why President Trump deserves and needs Catholic support in the 2020 election.
President Trump’s Lenten statement is one of clear, calm Christianity and a call for those acts that America and Americans most need: prayer, fasting, and charity. Meanwhile, the Democratic candidates are yelling over each other on debate stages and trying to outdo each other in their progressivism as they claw their way to Super Tuesday, united only in a mounting hatred for President Trump as he bravely serves according to his lights and not the entrenched agenda of left-lunging bureaucrats and politicians.
Super Tuesday’s presidential primaries in fourteen states will bring at least one of the candidates closer to the delegate count required to run against President Trump. Whoever emerges victorious, it’s certain that person will campaign for a worldview of political radicalism and moral relativism. The Democratic nominee, whoever he may be, will unleash a fresh barrage of contempt for the President in keeping with the unprecedented backlash of antipathy we have already seen against this man who refused, and still refuses, to play the political pattycake of Washington, D.C.
The hatred leveled at President Trump is extraordinary—even demonic—as all hatred must be deemed to some extent. Catholics should take good note of this hatred, and also note that all the “right” people hate President Trump—that is, the Left. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” as the saying goes, and Catholics should take seriously the call to side against such hatred with the power of their vote. His Ash Wednesday message of humility and living the Gospel is a comfort because it shows that President Trump is willing to speak the truth. It is a message Catholics can hardly hope to hear from any Democrat.
Ironically, Democrats constantly attack the President as one waging a war on truth. These accusations are difficult to countenance from those who deny the truth of life, sex, and gender, the corruption of big government, the results of elections, and even the existence of objective truth itself. When the truth does not matter, but only political posturing, positioning, and party lines, then the one who speaks truth fearlessly will be a bull in a china shop. President Trump doesn’t care if he is that bull—and he is hated for it.
To be fair, the President also has a self-serving streak about him. Self-aggrandizement and self-promotion have been his bread and butter for decades. These qualities are not among those that make a man virtuous. Manners and morals must matter in government; given his track record, Catholics ought to be wary and qualify their support when he does or says things that are not laudable or virtuous.
But we should support him nonetheless. Catholics should admire and respect all that President Trump has done for the cause of life and truth, and prepare to support him against the hate he will face from his opponent. His Ash Wednesday message is one that Catholics can get behind and, in so doing, they should get behind him for Super Tuesday and beyond.
The Founding Fathers spilt a good deal of ink on the essential role of virtue, both private and public, if freedom or a true republic were to exist. Even though President Trump may not be the most virtuous president history has seen, a man with less (shall we say) self-confidence may have lacked the mettle to take on the Beltway establishment.
Catholics should remain loyal to the President while pushing for virtue as well as victory. Virtue must remain the ideal and vulgarity resisted in the same way that the hatred from the Democrats should be resisted. Being guarded, however, does not exclude being grateful for President Trump and—with prayer and fasting and works of charity—to expect that he will continue to act decisively.
Given the dark hatred of Super Tuesday’s candidates and their affiliates, may Catholics play their part in securing a second term for President Trump to make America great again while bearing in mind the words of President John Adams: “No people can be great who have ceased to be virtuous.” May we grow closer to God in our faith during this blessed season.
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