Back in the mid to late nineties the word paradigm became popular and there was lots of talk about paradigm shifts. For those that did not get the memo or who may not know what a paradigm shift is, it is merely a change in the way things are thought of, accepted and/or done. You could say that it is not doing business as usual. The 1990s showed us that there had been a paradigm shift in business, religion and in politics. It became adapt or die and no longer business as usual.
It was the 1992 presidential campaign in which we saw a paradigm shift in that the Moral Majority of Jerry Falwell, that was given credit for electing Jimmy Carter once and then Ronald Reagan twice, was crushed by Bill Clinton. In business, technology became king, and in religion churches with a great IT and audio video departments grew while others did not. We saw another paradigm shift in 2008 when Barack Obama defied the old schools of thought and combined the use of technology and change in social mores to win election.
One thing this current election period has shown, is that we are once again in a major political paradigm shift. I actually think this is still a part of the last shift and that it has just expanded in the Democrat Party and finally taken root in the GOP. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are a major force in this shift. Both Parties are being shaken at the root and shown that business as usual is not going to work any longer. Strangely, I think the Republicans may actually have overtaken the Democrats at this point. One thing many do not yet understand is that this shift is not just a slight one that one can be adapted to fit into the old ways. This paradigm shift is calling for a total abandonment of thinking in established ways.
Ironically, whereas in 1992 the dominance of the "Moral Majority" founded by Jerry Falwell Sr. was shown to be powerless, in 2016 it is his son Jerry Falwell Jr. that had the foresight to be one of the first to acknowledge the new paradigm shift and embrace it.
In the realm of pure politics tradition said, to win an election, you must have a good ground game, have large donors or super pacs, be young and/or good looking and pander to certain segments and interest groups of our society. Bernie and Trump are breaking those rules.
Of the many established paradigms that Donald Trump, in particular, has exposed and put in peril, the most startling are the paradigms of the “Evangelical Church” and the “Conservative Movement.” Established “Church Leaders,” the “Political Establishment,” and media stars are afraid and some are very afraid. They are right to be afraid, but not for the reasons they are. We have church leaders, politicians and media personalities, who in the past commanded great respect and whose endorsement, or lack thereof, were very important and could help a candidate win or lose, see their endorsement have no affect on the results. Some of these have let the lack of influence get under their skins and say and do some uncharacteristic things. These men and women are perplexed at how their voices are having no effect and some are acting badly. It is simple, the new paradigm says “we will no longer follow those same voices that have made no difference in the past 25 years." Instead of getting mad and lashing out at the people, they should be trying to understand what has happened.
Conservatives and “Evangelicals” are saying that you cannot take our vote for granted and expect us to support you just because you evoke the words Conservative and Christian.
Unlike certain constituencies such as the black community, and to a growing extent the Hispanic community, Conservatives and Evangelical Christians are showing that they cannot be herded. They are exhibiting the independent spirit that has kept America the “land of the free.” I only wish the other so-called constituencies would take note. We are seeing this to some extent among white youth and white labor, in their support for Bernie Sanders and even Donald Trump, but sadly the descendents of American slaves are still acting like slaves. They are herded by their white masters and their black overseers and remain controlled.
I say this to my conservative Republican friends. Do not despise the free thinking among your brethren. Please never let me hear the words, “you cannot be a Christian IF…” or “you cannot be a conservative IF….,” written or spoken by you. You should, in fact, applaud it.
As St. Augustine said:
“In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas”
Which translated means, “In the essentials unity, in the non-essentials diversity, but in all things love.”
Let us celebrate freedom and free thought. Let the battle of ideas rage and may the best ideas win.
God Bless the United States of America.