Wisconsin exit polls have the pundits buzzing that there can be no reconciliation of the Grand Old Party. That the fear, distrust, and vitriol thrown back and forth between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz is simply too wide a gap to bridge. Seen through a purely political lens, that might appear to be so. But that’s not the only lens we have.
In 1776, support for the American Revolution was not a sure thing. In fact, historians believe that Patriots and loyalists were split with about one third supporting each, and one third on the fence. That’s about the kind of split we have (depending on the state) with Trump, #NeverTrump, and the swing vote.
At the end of August, General George Washington found himself trapped in Brooklyn Heights, with his back to the East River and the British massing for a final attack. He had used all his relief, and his 9,000 troops were outnumbered more than two to one by General Howe’s red coats and his Hessian mercenaries.
Washington was near despair, but he was also a man of faith. No one knows what prayers passed his lips during those tense two days as he faced almost certain defeat. As night fell on the evening of August 29, he peered over New York Harbor and knew he had no other hope. Escape by water was the only chance—and even that would take a miracle. Ordering a hasty retreat, Washington oversaw the efforts to ferry his army and their possessions—every man, beast, cannon, and rifle—safely across the water under the cover of darkness. To his relief, the British sentinels failed to spot the shadowy silhouettes of the escaping soldiers. But as the sky began to lighten, there were still men to move—and it was then that Washington’s prayers proved effective. A thick fog began to roll in, like the benevolent breath of God, providing cover and protection until every last soldier and piece of equipment reached safety on the other side. Washington’s boots were the last to leave the Brooklyn Heights side of the harbor, and the last to alight in Manhattan, which the Patriots still held.¹
Nathan Hale was executed 21 days later for spying–some historians believe Hale was turned in by his own cousin Samuel, a loyalist. Family didn’t account for much on opposite sites of the rebellion. Further on, General Benedict Arnold would nearly hand Washington over to the British, saved only by the early arrival of Washington’s aide, Alexander Hamilton, at his West Point headquarters.
By no means was America’s victory over the British, never mind the hearts and minds of the colonists (many in New York, which was held by the British through the end of the war, were staunch loyalists to the Crown), a certainty. Yet when Cornwallis surrendered and General Clinton evacuated New York, America became a unified country and did not evict the Tories. Some left, but many stayed and became loyal Americans.
By no means is our Republic’s victory over an increasingly strident, Godless assault from those who would remake America into a polyglot ersatz European subcontinent, a sure thing. Millions of Americans cheered when Democrats booed God (and Israel) at the DNC national convention in 2012. Millions cheer today when Bernie Sanders speaks of Denmark-on-the-Potomac ruling over us. Millions cheer when Hillary Clinton says an unborn child has no right to live an hour before birth.
But the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln, abolition, capitalism, personal liberty, and small government, is different. President Lincoln called upon Americans’ faith in God. We’re the party that President Eisenhower joined and left us with a warning of creeping government/military/scientific and industrial complex growing in influence. Eisenhower prayed and trusted in our faith.
Even President George W. Bush called upon the nation to pray in the wake of 9/11. President Obama calls upon Christians to get off our high horses.
There is a qualitative difference between the GOP and the Democrats. Our grievances with the party of Obama, Clinton and Sanders cannot be bridged by faith, for they have essentially abandoned theirs to take up the reigns of power and control for themselves.
We, however, like Washington, can submit ourselves to prayer. Those within the GOP who do pray and seek God know His power and that He can conduct 9,000 troops to safety under the eyes of the red coats. He can certainly change the hearts of disaffected and estranged voters.
I have said that I have no beef with Trump supporters. Many of them “know not what they do.” Many refuse to even look into their man’s past, his dealings, his businesses and lawsuits. They chalk those things up to people trying to tear Trump down. Believe me, if there were a way to build Trump up, I’d be the first in line to do it. I’ve tried.
I may not be able to vote for Trump–I can’t in good conscience do so. But I don’t think worse of those who are in his thrall. In fact, I pray that if Cruz should be the nominee, they would see that he is not their enemy, or a “Trojan Horse” or a tool of the Establishment. I don’t think any of those things about Trump–I simply think he would be a terrible president, and potentially worse than Hillary or Bernie–who I would never, ever vote for. For the record, I would never, ever vote for Hillary or Bernie (or Joe Biden) either.
So when the time comes to unify, God can be in our midst to draw us together. There’s a more powerful force than politics (thank God He is) at work here, and the answer to our unity problem is found in Him, not in polls, or personal insults, or accusations.
¹George Washington’s secret six; the spy ring that saved the American Revolution / Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger ©2013, p.9