Updated: Jan 30, 2022
By Richard Allen – January 24, 2022
We live in an age where the “world appears to be turned upside-down!” What once was wrong, is now considered right, what once was considered good, is now detested and disparaged as evil. Several years ago, my youngest daughter Lizi gave me a phrase to use when things are out-of-whack that I still use these many years later. The term she used was the phrase: “On-Drong-Drong!” This may sound like gibberish, or make no sense to any of you, but just know that phrase came from a 4 year old who had her shirt on backwards, or inside-out, or both! She was trying to say “I have my shirt On-Wrong,” and/or “Inside-Out” and it came out as “on-drong-drong!” My wife and I thought this term to be quite clever, so the term became part of our family’s vocabulary to this day!
The story I’ll relate to you in this week’s blog is also On-Drong-Drong! It’s backwards, and doesn’t make any sense based on real facts and observations, but it does make sense in an age where Everything-Is-A-Political-Narrative and Truth-Is-Whatever-They-Want-It-To-Be! Truth has become a carefully packaged veneer that sells for reality in our age of image! No more substance, a polished image is now all important, not a person’s actual deeds! There’s no place where this phenomenon can be seen more clearly than how the media manufactured the images of Bill and Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama. But not to be outdone, they rewrote the image of Donald Trump, portraying him as the most evil racist to walk the planet, changed from the previous image that they had spent years cultivating for him, that he was: A flamboyant, smart, cool playboy billionaire! Not only is their narrative on-drong-drong, but they consistently look at external images and not the character and actual behavior of people upon whom they pass judgment. As I think on this spin, I’m reminded of Samuel’s words to David’s father Jessie when the Lord chose his youngest, ruddy son David, to be King over Israel, rather than Eliab, Jessie's older and taller son:
“But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.'” (I Sam 16:7)
That one Bible verse does more to explain the fickle nature of American voters than all the political pundits and amateur psychologists in explaining the attitudes of modern voters. I think I can best explain this by referring to a person I know, a really decent man, but one who is not politically astute. Mind you, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But his big issue with Trump going into the last election was that Trump had such a brash, braggadocio and in-your-face communication style that he didn’t seem Presidential or Christian. I did respond to him that we’re not electing our next pastor, nor are we looking for someone to lead a Bible study, we’re electing a leader who will be able to put the needs of American Citizens above his own. As he explained, other candidates (including Hillary) seemed more presidential and polished. I can agree on some level that Trump is unorthodox and in-your-face. But this is where his assessment is “on-drong-drong!”
I explained to my acquaintance that we don’t vote for, or support, a public servant based on the image that they portray, and then excuse the horrific behaviors that they actually do. Stick with me, this is where it gets a bit sticky. Donald Trump is an overall decent divorced guy, very loyal and full of compassion and kindness for others IN THE ACTUAL WAY HE LIVES, but he’s LIKE A BULL IN A CHINA SHOP as to the way he talks! Bill and Hillary, and Barack all have life-long polished and carefully packaged images as statesmen and servants, crafted by their high-priced consultants, but in REAL LIFE THEY ARE NASTY, CORRUPT AND SEXUALLY DEBAUCHED INDIVIDUALS! Here’s a case in point, Bill Clinton, single-handedly sold out the U.S. to China back in the 1990’s for campaign cash (does the name Johnny Chung ring a bell?). Bill also spent his time in the Oval Office as a Sexual-Predator-in-Chief, and had possibly the most manufactured image (I loved it when he bit his bottom lip, ready to cry), yet the media-crafted image was of Bill caring for women and women’s issues. As other writers have pointed out, he was no different than Bill Cosby, only Slick Willie avoided Jail!
You see, back to Samuel’s words, in our Electronic Age of images and spin, what sells for reality is not the inner person of the heart, but the outward image of public figure who’s attractive, well-spoken and well-poised. Malcomb Gladwell in his book: “Blink” calls this the “Warren Harding Effect.” Warren Harding was elected President in 1920, and while he wasn’t very smart or gifted politically, he was very tall, very good looking and had a rich deep voice that his Republican handlers thought would appeal to the women's vote. Sadly, his only gifts appeared to be womanizing and playing cards. He died of a stroke two years into his presidency, and by all accounts was not a very good leader. THIS is the current world we live in; the crafted image is the only thing that’s important! It doesn’t matter that Hillary destroyed 30,000 emails or disbelieved and trashed every one of Bill’s female accusers. And it doesn’t matter that Monica Lewinsky’s semen-stained blue dress is Bill’s real legacy. As long as Bill could bite his lip and turn on the sad face, he was considered a great leader!
Time doesn’t allow me to re-hash Barak Obama’s treachery giving the Iranians pallets of cash, or unleashing the IRS, FBI and CIA on his political opponents, or Hillary’s campaign fabricating the whole “Trump-Russia-Collusion” narrative, they all had shiny polished images, crafted for the silver screen! Now to most of us, it matters if you are not a person of integrity, honor, loyalty or patriotism. But it does matter that you treat the Secret Service and Military leaders who accompany you like hired help. And contrary to getting awards for treating their employees well, Bill, Hillary and Barak were notorious for having shown open disdain for those underlings employed around them. JUST AS LONG AS YOU GIVE GOOD SPEECHES AND HAVE A CREASE IN YOUR PANTS – THE MEDIA DECLARES YOU A GREAT LEADER! And speaking of the “crease-in-his-pants,” the so-called objective journalist Chris Matthews’ gushing over Barak Obama’s crease shows just how far the Warren Harding Effect has progressed in defining our shallow age of false idols!
It’s here that we should turn back to the Scriptures for help. There is something about our fallen natures that desperately wants a great leader to stand up for us. I like to call it the Marvel-Super-Hero View of Life! There is some need built into our frail human egos that wants a Superhero to defend, protect, and fight for us! This deep inner need is reflected in virtually all of antiquity, especially Greek and Roman Mythology. It was this desire that let Israel to ask Samuel for a King in the Old Testament:
“So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, ‘You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.’ " But when they said, 'Give us a king to lead us,' this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: ‘Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods . . .’ (I Sam 8:4-8)
From the rest of the narrative, we learn that God did give them King Saul, a super-hero figurehead who was said to be “a head and shoulders taller than other men,” and for whom the Israelites could be proud as they went into battle. And even after Samuel warned them that a king would take of the best of their herds, grain, wine and bread, and take their sons and daughters for his servants, they were undaunted in their request:
“But the people refused to listen to Samuel." "No!” they said. “We want a king over us! Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.” (I King 8:19-20)
You see, the problem with us is the same as with the Israelites of old. We’re looking for superheroes in all the wrong places – imagining that having one perfect man or woman to go before us, will protect us and give us status and power. Most often, these super-hero-leaders are themselves deeply flawed people, with selfish pride and deviant desires that make them less than ideal heroes or role models. Such was King David’s predecessor – King Saul! Saul had “Warren Harding” written all over him! The people all lusted for a tall, handsome, strong and eloquent champion to represent them. And I fear that we Americans often look for far too much in our leaders, and project onto them qualities that mere mortals just don’t have. What Saul did have was jealous pride. And when through his own sins and failures it became obvious that God would replace him as King over Israel, Saul bristled at the idea that his ruddy armor-bearer (David) would become King in his place! So, he spent most of the rest of his life trying to destroy David – at any cost!
Such was the hatred for Trump by the Saul-like Harding Trio of Bill and Hillary, and Barak! All three of them together hadn’t done much of anything in life that wasn’t subsidized by the taxpayers, and created by paid public relations consultants! Each one of them being a creation of the corporate media image-makers, they had no real substance. Not one of them had any real legislative record of achievement, or public policy successes to speak of! And as we’d learn of all three, no real core convictions except to promote and to enrich themselves! Trump, on the other hand had built a real estate empire, and had come back from bankruptcy and failed economies, to be named the “Comeback King” by the NY Times in 1995. And none other than "The Oprah" had asked him if “he would run for president” as she listened to him expound the very things he did when he was president (2016-2020)! Makes you wonder how the “O” didn’t know that he was such a Racist?
So how did Trump, the man who won the Ellis Island Award for his kind treatment and hiring of minority employees become a Racist overnight? And how did a man whom the media had dubbed the Comeback King in 1995 somehow ruin the booming economy he had created through sound economic policies? The answer to this amazing on-drong-drong is simple: They changed the narrative to destroy him! And they had to destroy him, not only because they hated him for actually accomplishing things for the good of his fellow-man, but because he came to empower and help the middle-class citizens that the Sauls of this world had such disdain for! You see, by nature we all have it on-drong-drong. The real superhero we’re looking for to heal us, and our world is none other than David’s Greater Son, Jesus our Messiah and King!