A confession. Like most people in the UK, I cannot take a man called Trump seriously. In this part of the world it is a euphemism for breaking wind – you might as well be ‘The Donald J Fart’. Mind you, given the amount of noxious hot air the fellow gives out, the name may be appropriate. He appears to have no control over what comes out of his mouth, so it was fun when motor mouth mogul confronted Rambling Pope Frank. Who really knows what Frank says? There’s always someone to explain it wasn’t what it looks like. He seems to have suggested that if Trump wanted to build walls, that made him no Christian. Trump exploded that there is a wall round the Vatican, and that he felt insulted. I was quite enjoying it, and then suddenly it went away.
There is little point in quoting what either man has said in the past, as they have both realised that in a 24/7 media, no one really cares, but it is interesting that the Pope seems to think he could come to a judgment about whether someone is a Christian. I can see where he’s coming from – looking after the poor and the dispossessed is quite high up on the list of things Jesus values in his followers, and he says nothing about building walls to keep them out. Mind, nor does he say anything about economic migrants. On that theme, are there any other sort? Am I wrong in thinking that, with the possible exception of the Native Americans, and the definite exception of the slaves, everyone else in the USA is descended from those who were ‘economic migrants’? If only the original inhabitants of Manhattan Island had thought of Green Cards, they might still be masters of their own land. Mind, again, if that is your example, I can see why you’d be worried.
Most ordinary folk know something has gone wrong with our societies. Those of my generation grew up in an era of social mobility – that a lad from my background to go to university at all was unusual in the previous generation, but not quite so much in mine. Now, it seems to have stuck. Some already rich people (remind me someone where Trump’s money came from?) have got richer; most of us don’t feel we have, or that our children are going to be better off than we were. In a society weaned on materialism, this really matters – after all, what other sort of yardstick exists in it? It is not as though our societies value other things. If an ‘illegal immigrant’ is going to ‘take your job’, then there’s nothing most folk have been taught that says we should look after those who have less than we do. Trump taps into the anger, and the rhetoric, he is the perfect exemplar of a society which knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing.
He and Pope Frank were probably motor-mouthing past each other – but at least the latter was saying something Jesus might have said. As for Trump – hot air with a noxious smell.