Election menus are limited

Some people seem to think that choosing a president is like choosing a meal a la carte from a vast menu with limitless possibilities. As if one could customize a candidate who shares all your values, has an impeccable character, and is a snappy dresser too.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. The menu we are offered has only a handful of choices in the primaries and basically only two in the general election. And sometimes it’s like having to choose between donuts and liver. The one promises short-term pleasure but unhealthy consequences in the long-term. The other is distasteful and kinda’ gross but offers health benefits that will serve you well for years to come. So if you’re smart and self-controlled, you hold your nose and eat the liver.

Said people criticize Christians like me who voted for and support President Trump because he has serious character flaws which conflict with our values. A current meme going around suggests hypocrisy if we complain about the lewd Super Bowl halftime show yet apparently see no problem with a crass commander-in-chief. These critics are either blind to or intentionally disregard the reality that there is no perfect candidate and our choices are extremely limited. Perhaps they would advocate a presidential draft whereby we seek out, select, and strong-arm someone with all our desired qualifications to be our party’s candidate.

Here’s the thing…though ideally our nation’s leader has a character worthy of admiration and emulation, the reality is that in an election we are hiring him (or her) to do a job. So his suitability for the position depends on his job performance qualifications over and above any personal traits. Except as his personal character may impact his job performance.

Two things can be true at once: An individual can be personally deplorable, and be really good at his job. A candidate for CEO of a major company who has a proven track record in business leadership but has cheated on each of his four wives will be chosen over the man who never failed his wife but failed to lead well at each of his four previous positions. A world-famous surgeon with decades of experience and a 100% success rate who happens to be rude, arrogant, and somewhat sleazy will be chosen over a kind and compassionate but inexperienced resident when you need life-saving surgery.

And a man who is committed to policies that I support and determinedly works to enact them but has a checkered past and is sometimes crude, boisterous, and childish is preferred over a less boorish man or woman whose policies are immoral or would be detrimental to the country.

As a Christian I both approve and disapprove of things President Trump has done and said. The things I approve of are those that are in his job description. And come November I will vote to rehire him.