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Monday, March 18, 2019

Viper Active

It’s not uncommon to hear a reference to politicians as “snakes.” This, of course, gives snakes a bad name. Even using the term “vipers” doesn’t improve the credibility of those who abuse their governing privilege.

Along comes a new book from a former Trump White House “insider.” The author is Cliff Sims, the former White House communications aide. He graced several national headlines with the ungraceful release of Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House.

In describing his writing project to the Christian Post, Sims said, “I wanted to portray the President as he really is—a multi-dimensional person, with extraordinary gifts and major flaws, just like the rest of us.” The book title is a takeoff on the diverse political views and personalities of those who worked in the Lincoln administration. The release of Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln was a best seller in 2006.

Apparently, the president was not a happy camper with Sims’ book. CBS News reported the Trump campaign filed an arbitration claim alleging the violation of a non-disclosure agreement. I guess revealing the Trump “multi-dimensions” is not fair game.

The Christian Post article (linked below) offers Sims' spiritual perspectives along with the political. For example, he says, “I also write in the book that my greatest regret from my time in the White House is that I wasn’t a better picture of my faith to the President and my colleagues.” Sims said he is “haunted” by a quote from the late Brennan Manning who said, “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Chris­tians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”

When asked if working in the White House and living as a Christian are incompatible, Sims replied, “I don't think they are incompatible, it's just hard not to lose yourself in it all and suddenly wake up one day realizing you're finding your identity in your job, or your proximity to power, rather than in your faith.”

I would expand on that a bit. Being in positions where you have access to the most powerful or you yourself are in a power position can weaken the will. The will to what? The will to live out a life untainted by the constant opportunities to satisfy your own interests—even if others lose in the process.

Witness various aldermen in Illinois in fairly recent news headlines. On January 3rd of this year, Chicago Alderman Ed Burke was charged with attempted extortion. He was allegedly using his government job to solicit business for his private law firm. It was a “snake-like” thing to do.

An alderman from Chicago’s south side is scheduled to go on trial June 3rd in a high risk corruption case. Willie Cochran has been accused of “shaking down businessmen in exchange for his support on deals in the 20th Ward he represents.” Willie is a former Chicago police officer! More viper-like behavior.

The zoomorphism of snake-like behavior and humans originates in the Bible. It was the dreaded “serpent” (snake) who brought down the human race by trickery in the Garden of Eden. This creature was very real and very deadly—as all of mankind should have learned by now. Still today, the Evil One masquerades as an “angel of light” seeking “someone to devour.” (2 Corinthians 11:14, 1 Peter 5:8)

I cannot imagine how evil slithers its way in the halls of power. And especially the White House. Temptation must lurk around every corner.

We can be sure of this. The Evil One remains highly “viper-active.”

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