While Donald Trump continues to dominate the headlines (and enjoy free publicity while he’s at it) in his attempt to become the most powerful leader in the world, another man remains quiet. Pope Francis, leader of Catholics all over the world, prepares for his visit to the United States in September, almost covertly, thanks in large part to the headlines Trump continues to create.
Francis and Trump mentioned in the same breath might sound sacrilegious to some, the perfect opening to a joke for others: Donald Trump and the Pope walk into a bar…
But when National Public Radio, in its preparation of the pontiff’s visit next month, polled non-Catholics about what they thought of Pope Francis, I couldn’t help but think about The Donald (in a not so flattering light, though). Both men have money. While we all know Trump is worth billions,El Papa ain’t living in a single room efficiency. The two wield much power (though one man serves a higher power for a living). Trump is the king of his own empire while Francis teaches the ways of the “King of kings.”
I found myself both happy yet painfully frustrated at the same time after trolling through some of the comments on the NPR Facebook post:
“I’m an atheist and I think he’s a wonderful humanist.” — Charles Wright
“Pope Francis is a great world leader, for Catholics and all others. He’s the first pope to actually take a universalist view, much like the Dalai Lama.” — Steve Johnson
“I’m non-Catholic and think that Pope Francis is one of the most awesome leaders around today. He’s both compassionate and progressive. His humility is refreshing!” — Victoria S. Jessie
“Pope Francis is love incarnate…He is bringing back a more compassionate way of thinking about Christianity that is needed right now to soften the religious right. Too bad they’re not listening.” — Deborah Waggett
The praise continued; the more I read the more relieved and hopeful I felt. As a Catholic I know what it’s like to have to defend my faith, accept the church’s horrible mistakes in the wake of what seems like are endless allegations of abuse and coverups. That non-Catholics and even atheists think my pope is cool is… cool!
Now my frustration: Shouldn’t we deserve a candidate that elicits similar sentiment, someone who unifies and doesn’t divide? Someone who turns non-believers into believers?
That candidate is most certainly not Donald Trump.
Trump is a man who has taken a completely different approach on his way to his promised land on Pennsylvania Avenue. Divisive and bombastic in his rhetoric, Trump is the antithesis of Pope Francis’s simple yet profound view on our world, from equality to our environment in addition to our spirituality.
While Francis has taken a humanistic approach, which by definition places emphasis on human potential and rational ways we can solve our problems together, Trump is a divider who wants to build a huge wall along the U.S.-Mexican border and take away citizenship to those born in this country to undocumented parents.
As much as I try not to get too riled up over politics and religion in the first place, I’m a little pissed that for all of the hatred and vitriol that Trump seems to be getting on social media, people who love him are going to the polls. His numbers do not lie. Equally upsetting to me is that there is not one other candidate outside of Bernie Sanders right now that can stop this guy’s momentum; what used to be a joke is starting to get serious, as many Americans and the world at-large begin to collectively wonder, “What if?”
And before anyone throws Hillary’s name out their, we should all remember that she has more than a few skeletons in her closet. A Trump vs Clinton election would turn into a shit show for the entire world to see; it’d be more of a global embarrassment than North Korea thinking Dennis Rodman was a diplomat.
Maybe what the rest of these candidates need to do is take a few notes on how Pope Francis conducts himself during his trip to the U.S. Heck, maybe even Trump can learn how a real world leader should act. As far-fetched as it may seem, I like the idea of Pope Francis walking into a bar with Donald Trump and having a toast to such concepts like inclusion, fairness, equality, love for our planet and for each other over a smooth bourbon and holy water.
Sadly, that would never happen — Francis is from Argentina. Trump would just have him deported.