“The election of Donald Trump to the presidency is a very troubling turn of events. It is worrisome to any rational person,” Raymond J. Lawrence said in an interview with Muslim Press.
He went on to say, “. It must be far more worrisome to Muslims, Mexicans, African-Americans, and indeed anyone who is not a white male.”
The following is the full text of this interview:
Muslim Press: What’s your take on the victory of Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential election and its likely impact on the world?
Raymond J. Lawrence: The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is a very troubling turn of events. It is worrisome to any rational person. It must be far more worrisome to Muslims, Mexicans, African-Americans, and indeed anyone who is not a white male. Even American white males should worry, because this election may lead to a cataclysm for which they will be blamed, and to some extent rightly so.
On the other hand, there are two sides to Donald Trump. In his case the two sides contrast quite dramatically. It will take some time to discover which side of him wants to prevail. And in the meantime we will all have to live with hope and anxiety.
The side of Trump that certainly must worry us all is his racism, paranoid nationalism, and long history of reckless and bold lying. Or should I say, his narcissistic psychopathy. It's a danger to every living person on the planet. There is no place to escape the potential for him to incinerate everything. Perhaps I should add to this list of his potential victims, his long-standing humiliating treatment of women, but I do not think that part of his history is a mortal danger to the nation. It is more of a danger to the person of Trump.
During the campaign Trump certainly appealed to the worst impulses of the American people, their propensity for violent over-reaction, their broad disdain for minorities and non-whites of any sort.
The other side of Trump can be seen in his gracious response to Hilary Clinton's own gracious admission of defeat, as well as his humble approach to President Obama.
MP: Are you hopeful about the future of the United States?
Raymond J. Lawrence: Are there other grounds for hope? Maybe. Maybe he does want to be a good president in the long run. Much will be signaled by the appointments Trump is in the process of making. That he appointed Reince Priebus to the top White House position, is probably a hopeful sign, especially given the alternatives vetted about.
We can also hope, perhaps, that Trump wants to be a good president in the long run. He has a history of playing recklessly in the business and real estate field. He has lived dangerously, but he has managed so far not to fail in the long run. Perhaps that instinct will lead him to wise choices as President.
MP: What’s your take on his xenophobic rhetoric during his campaign?
Raymond J. Lawrence: If Trump follows through on his promises to move against Moslems, Mexicans, and other non-whites, he will turn the American people radically against themselves. In such a case I would say that all bets are off for the future of the planet. My guess is - but perhaps it's a mere hope - that we won't hear much more about these promises to persecute our non-white and non-Christian fellow citizens and refugees.
MP: Is he likely to start a nuclear war?
Raymond J. Lawrence: Trump probably does not want to bring civilization to an end in a nuclear exchange, but he has a history of being an aggressive and unpredictable negotiator. With both Putin and Trump in possession of a nuclear trigger, no one can expect to sleep well for some time to come. I do not like to say this, but I feel like we may have entered a new dark age. Let's all work and pray that this will not be so.
Raymond J. Lawrence is an Episcopal cleric, recently retired Director of Pastoral Care, New York Presbyterian Hospital, and author of numerous opinion pieces in newspapers in the U.S., and author of the recently published, Sexual Liberation: The Scandal of Christendom.