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Moreover, after shrugging off a thousand other scandals, Trump seems paralyzed by the Nazi thing. He plunges into a minute rant on this subject, listing each offending news outlet by name. Not much changes in this country. The network tweets as much shortly after Trump says the line. A man taps my shoulder. I smile, zip up my jacket to hide my lanyard, then turn around to give him a thumbs up.

The crowd escalates:. The audience seems into it for a while. But it goes on too long. During the campaign, Trump was expert at keeping a hall buzzed with resentment for an hour or so. But he hits weird notes now. I was a better student than they were. I live in a bigger, more beautiful apartment, and I live in the White House, too, which is really great.

Lent Madness duo shines competitive spotlight on saints’ inspiring stories

No one is counting fingers, but you can tell people are having trouble making the math work. But candidate Trump was never dumb enough to try to tell debt-ridden, angry crowds they were already living the dream. At one point, Trump ends up standing with a piece of paper in hand, haranguing all with transcripts of his own remarks on Charlottesville.

It gets quiet in the hall. Bruce too stood onstage in his last years for interminable periods, court papers in hand, quoting himself to audiences bored to insanity by the spectacle. This is exactly Trump. Even his followers are starting to look sideways at one another. In a sight rarely seen last year, a trickle of supporters heads for the exits. Then Trump cracks.

We reporters had seen this act before. On October 10th of last year, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, at one of the most massive rallies of the campaign, Trump accused CNN of shutting down the feed because he was criticizing their debate coverage. In that case, a camera light really did flicker, but CNN was actually turning the live feed on, not off.

That was possibly an honest mistake. The general consensus of attendant journalists that night was that Trump was messing with us. Phoenix is different. He really thinks that not just CNN, but all of the networks are shutting down their feeds, overwhelmed by the power of his words. Oh, those cameras are going off. The president of the United States is seeing things. He might as well be shooing imaginary ants off his suit. They come for the old standards, but this new Trump material gets mixed reviews.

Francis of Assisi vs. John Wycliffe

Outside, a fan gives the speech a half-hearted thumbs up. Trump has never had much use for facts, or decorum, or empathy, or sexual discretion, or any of the hundred other markers we normally look at to gauge mental wellness. This guy is lost, and as he flails for a clue, he keeps struggling violently against the conventions of his own office.

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The presidency has become a straitjacket. We deserve Trump, though. God, do we deserve him. Nowadays we use flying robots and missiles to kill so many civilians and women and children in places like Mosul and Raqqa and Damadola, Pakistan, in our countless ongoing undeclared wars that the incidents scarcely make the news anymore. Now, the mask of respectability is gone, and we feel sorry for ourselves, because the sickness is showing.

So much of the Trump phenomenon is about history. The Trump movement culturally represents an absolute denial of our sins from slavery on — hence the intense reaction to the removal of Confederate statues, the bizarre paranoia about the Washington Monument being next, and so on.

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But resistance is also a denial mechanism. It makes Trump the root of all evil, and is powered by an intense desire to not have to look at the ugliness, to go back to the way things were. Trump is no malfunction. America, land of the mad pig president. But who cares, with two deserving saints. My favorite prayer about St. Francis says that God sent St. Francis also confronted the evils of his day; namely, the heresy that claimed that the material world was so evil that it could not have been created by God. He preached to the Sultan and tried to convert him to Christianity.

The Sultan was so taken with this little man and his goodness that, while he did not convert, he did allow Francis to return to the Christian camp without harming him.

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The story of the wolf of Gubbio also shows us Francis confronting evil. For all of these reasons, Francis gets my vote today.


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That being said, they both were reformers of the church each in his own way, addressing issues of the Faith in their time. Living the way of the cross is hard compared to sentimental feel good spirituality. Bah to the birds! I vote for Wycliffe! Francis, I love what he did, what he inspired others to do, and his basilica in Assisi is one of the most profoundly God-imbued physical places I have ever been.

But Wycliffe! He fought not only for what was right, but also what was practical. Accessible scripture is nothing to laugh at, while in my opinion indulgences are. He forced people to think about what they believed, to such an extent that he was declared a heretic years after his death, and after that dug up and burned.

That is an amazing testimonial to his work and I have to vote for him.

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Francis it is for me. Even if Francis did not actually pen The Prayer of St. Francis, it bears his spirit and evokes his image. Voted for Wycliffe because we have so much in common! I would gladly have voted for his exemplary leadership, but for an incredible visit to Assisi, where upon the solitary morning off season walk toward the mountaintop Statue, the dozens upon dozens of birds in the treetops could be heard ensemble in truly joyful birdsong.

Love, it would seem, is the redeeming truth. All weekend I was all set to vote for Fran — but, after reading the thorn in the side our friend John was to the Catholic Church, I changed my mind! Actually I love all creatures, and love the idea of preaching to them, of course they have many things to teach me.. Nevertheless, I ultimately voted for John Wycliffe rather than Francis.


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