The Donald and the Malestrom

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Like many of you I am trying to make sense of the election. As I reflect on these developments, I am persuaded that it has revealed deeper more profound issues. If the pundits are correct, and I think they are, white working class men, including a large percentage of self-described “evangelicals,” have played a central role in this election.

These males are outraged by their declining place of prominence and privilege in today’s America. They feel threatened by strong currents of change—the rise of women, globalization, and seismic shifts in the economy and culture—and are determined to regain what they have lost. Their vote was a vote for a revived American patriarchy.

This is all too familiar to me. The macho posturing and oppressive, demeaning treatment of other subgroups is at the heart of what I wrote about in Malestrom: Manhood Swept into the Currents of a Changing World. It is as hurtful to the men themselves as it is to those who suffer from their actions. From Malestrom:

“The malestrom is the particular ways in which the fall impacts the male of the human species—causing a man to lose himself, his identity and purpose as a man, and above all to lose sight of God’s original vision for his sons.”

I believe the hope-filled message of Malestrom is particularly relevant to this crisis and more urgent than ever. Days after the election, one reader texted me,

“I revisited Malestrom very recently, and its relevance and premonition were CHILLING.”

I feel a burden, indeed a responsibility, to get this message out to as many people as possible. It is time for the church to engage seriously this crisis of masculinity.

If you share my consternation and believe that the Malestrom message points the way forward to counter false views of masculinity and its derivatives—hatred, racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and divisiveness—then help me get this message out.

About carolyncustisjames
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10 Responses to The Donald and the Malestrom

  1. Kellie says:

    I agree with you wholeheartedly! I am with you and feel the need for this message to be delivered. I’m so thankful that God has given you a platform and I will keep praying for you.


  2. Barbara says:

    Carolyn, I am not seeing things the way you are seeing them at all. I do not believe a vote for Trump was white men saying, feeling, or believing they were losing their “white power.” There were people of all races and ethnic groups who voted for Trump. May I ask you who you wanted to be the next president? For the record, I did not vote for Trump, but I know many people who did vote for him and none of them are the type of people you have described.


  3. Hi, there. I do agree with much of what you usually write, but I strongly disagree that men voted for President-Elect Trump because they are “outraged by their declining place of prominence and privilege in today’s America. They feel threatened by strong currents of change—the rise of women, globalization, and seismic shifts in the economy and culture—and are determined to regain what they have lost. Their vote was a vote for a revived American patriarchy.” This seems so disrespectful to me.

    i am a woman against patriarchy and I voted for Trump. I voted for him because he was the only candidate fighting for women – all women – including women who are not yet born. All other candidates were for abortion – and worst of all, Hillary Clinton is for even late term and partial birth abortions. It’s beyond comprehension for me, as a Christian, to vote for someone who believes it’s ok to kill babies. I can assure you, the women of our future now have a real shot at actually being born because of Donald Trump, instead of being fried in their mother’s womb.

    Abortion is enough of a reason to vote for Donald Trump, but there’s also the breaking down of the DC elitist crowd who have had the press in the palms of their hands for way too long, taking away women’s rights as they chip, chip, chip away at them little by little. That bond is now broken and I would think all of America would rejoice. Who wants a biased press who report through their liberal filters? They have admitted they did. The New York Times even admitted they had reported a biased view. They have now rededicated themselves to reporting honestly and without bias. We will see.

    And there’s Benghazi. Oh, my, my, my. Hillary Clinton let those men die. How did that help their mothers, wives, sisters and daughters? Making their men dispensable, Hillary disrespected all those women….and still does.

    I know President-Elect Trump said some awful things 11 years ago. Who says he is still like that? It was 11 years ago.If you listen to the women he now works with, women who work for him, you will find that he does not treat them that way.

    I can assure you that my husband and several of my many sons who voted for Mr. Trump did not vote for him because they are outraged by a perceived declining place of prominence. We really can’t say why people voted because we do not know their hearts. “My” men voted for him out of the utmost respect for women and a growing concern for our glorious America.

    We want a female president, but could not vote for Hillary Clinton. When a qualified woman runs, we will be first in line to support her. Hillary disqualified herself through her shady foundation, her complete disregard for the law, her lies, Benghazi, her willingness to kill babies minutes before they are born and her utter disdain for other women, whom she uses as pawns then they take the fall. The election of Donald Trump had nothing whatsoever to do with gender, but had everything to do with people being fed up with the lying, cheating and living above the law of the DC elite, of whom Bill and Hillary Clinton are in the lead. Marny of us felt that voting for her would be voting Bill back into office – and we all know what he did to and with women right in the Oval Office! Talk about disrespecting women!

    Please don’t neglect Romans 13 where God has said He chooses our leaders; the authorities that exist have been established by God. God appoints whom He will for reasons He will. I have recently reminded people that Joshua’s spies did not reject the mission just because it was a prostitute who helped them. They could have “risen above” her questionable moral character and resisted her help because, surely God would not use a prostitute! Let’s not forget His sovereignty as we support and pray for our new president in the coming years.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jen says:

    I am also perplexed by the analysis presented here. I know many women who voted for Trump and none of your reasons apply. My goodness, there’s very little about HRC that is redeeming, especially to anyone who follows Christ. She has repeatedly involved our sons and daughters in war. This horrible cycle of senseless death would’ve only continued, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Her commercials that claimed she was a champion for children were disgusting and a downright lie (is she a champion for children when she’s participating in the bombing an innocent child’s village halfway across the world? is she a champion for children when her own husband is a frequent user of the Lolita Express?). When we close our eyes and envision an earthly being that Jesus would encourage us to look to for political leadership, does he really show us the face of HRC? If HRC didn’t win, it’s not because she has female anatomy, it’s because she dragged behind her the heavy chains of 30 years of corruption. Males, females, and everything in between are sick of it. I don’t know any man who feels the way you’ve suggested. Many of our husbands have female bosses and female CEOs running their companies, and none of these men are rioting in the streets proclaiming #NotMyCompany. This is silliness, and I dare you to tell your friends and family who voted for Trump, to their face, exactly what you’ve stated above and see what kind of reaction you get. I’ll look forward to that blog post.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Carol says:

    Carolyn, this is a bizzare generalization and conclusion of what happend in this election. I am so sorry to see you write something like this. Have you talked to anyone who voted for Trump or decided not to vote at all? To take the results of the 2016 Presidential election and, seemingly, work backwards into a conclusion for a desire to a return of male partriarchy is hard to accept given the choice of candidates and the diverse expectations on government that Americans currently have. This election has shown a lot more than what you have characterized it to be.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Marva Grace says:

    Carolyn, I think your conclusions are spot on. The point is not that HC should have won the election! White males have taken such a bashing over the last few decades, it’s a natural reaction. However, as you point out, let’s not retain”false views of masculinity and its derivatives—hatred, racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and divisiveness”


  7. I am a woman who voted for Trump and while some of your conclusions may shed light, I don’t agree with you. If only white men voted for Trump, he wouldn’t have been elected. I don’t look at gender when I cast my vote. I prayed for literally months – due in part to the slanted and biased media reports and certainly could never cast a vote for Hillary. I had complete peace about voting for Trump because I believe that he is God’s answer for this time period. I believe I have witnessed in the election grassroots Christian America finally using their voices.

    I do agree with you that men need an identity restoration in Christ – just as much as women do. My question is, how can we get that teaching into the Church? I speak and coach about our identity, value, and purpose in the Lord, but I’m usually invited to only speak to the women. The entire Body of Christ needs this message! Blessings to you, CCJ!


  8. Thank you for these comments—both positive and negative. I would love to see a robust discussion of the issues I am raising, and that means listening to those with whom we disagree.

    To be sure, the folks who voted for Trump represent a variety of demographics and supported him for a variety of reasons. Having said that, during the entire election cycle, and now more than ever in the aftermath, the issues I raise in Malestrom regarding masculinity are profoundly relevant, and I would hope would be of concern to all of us—especially the church—no matter how we voted (or didn’t vote).

    The fact that the changes I described above have taken a heavy toll on a large population of white men has been well documented long before the election and has been reiterated both during and after the voting. Just this morning, it was under discussion on the morning news in the most sympathetic terms as a group that, until now, has been largely overlooked.

    True, these white working class men didn’t decide the election. But they were one of the first major demographic identified as resonating with Trump, as were evangelicals—a fact that has left (or exposed) a deep divide among Christians that is another topic of profound concern for Christians which I hope to take up later.

    I wrote Malestrom in 2014, before the 2016 national election or Donald Trump declared his candidacy. My work draws on the research others have done. We are in the middle of a seismic cultural shift, and white working class men have in many ways borne the brunt of this. Malestrom is not a male-bashing book, but a book that actually advocates for men. The issues it raises are crucial for the church to engage freshly now more than ever—not with a static cultural message of manhood that is out of reach or dangles by a slender thread for so many men and boys, but with a solid, gospel, vision for God’s sons that leaves no man or boy behind.

    Malestrom and this election are great discussion starters. I hope you’ll read the book and engage the issues.


    Liked by 1 person

  9. KeyTruths says:

    Carolyn, thank you for speaking up on such an important matter. Having personally experienced the excruciating fallout of what you describe, I echo your concerns. I’ve downloaded your book and look forward to reading it. I’m also pondering, and deeply concerned about, the demographic that you and I are in, that of white Christian women. Of all the groups that “trumpism” denigrates, ours is the only one that voted for him overwhelmingly and defends him vigorously. I think this perplexity has something to do with that confusing place we were in long before Trump ever appeared on the scene. One writer has called it the “pedestal of powerlessness.” It’s the place of being both privileged and demeaned, and often remaining strikingly unaware of either.


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