To no one’s surprise, Donald Trump is Time magazine’s Person of the Year. But the reason for his selection may surprise you.
Nancy Gibbs, Time‘s managing editor, points to the disruption Trump brought to America’s politics and the revolution he stirred. But as she notes, his campaign was made possible by an even larger disruption that has affected every dimension of our lives.
Gibbs: “We can scarcely grasp what our generation has wrought by putting a supercomputer into all of our hands, all of the time. If you are reading this, whether on a page or a screen, there is a very good chance that you are caught up in a revolution that may have started with enticing gadgets but has now reshaped everything about how we live, love, work, play, shop, share—how our very hearts and minds encounter the world around us. Why would we have imagined that our national conversation would simply go on as before, same people, same promises, same patterns?”
Gibbs cites an example: “Perhaps the President-elect will stop tweeting—but only because he will have found some other means to tell the story he wants to tell directly to the audience that wants to hear it.”
Every successful presidential candidate in my lifetime was chosen by a political party that then provided the infrastructure necessary for him to get his message to the nation. The candidate was obligated to work with the media in this regard, since they determine what they will print and air.
Donald Trump’s candidacy followed none of these norms. Most of the Republican Party establishment did all it could to prevent his nomination. Most of the mainstream media did all they could to prevent his election. But the technology of our day enabled him to speak directly to his followers in ways that galvanized their support and fueled his movement.
Such real-time leadership has continued after the election. For example, the president-elect tweeted last Tuesday morning about wanting to cancel a Boeing government contract. The market reacted within ten seconds, sending the price of Boeing stock down. What leaders do and say is heard instantly around the world and affects events more directly than ever before.
The Founders intended a balance of powers, but we’ve watched the Supreme Court disrupt centuries of moral tradition with a single decision, Congress pass bills that their constituents hate, and presidents sign executive orders to bypass their opposition. Our “post-truth” culture no longer views facts as objective or uses them to constrain our leaders.
These are challenging days for a nation that has lost its moral compass and whose economy can be affected by a tweet. That’s why our nation desperately needs culture-changing Christians who use their influence sacrificially for the common good.
If you supported Donald Trump, do not think your work is done now that he is president-elect and Time’s Person of the Year. If you opposed him, do not decide that your country no longer deserves or wants your service.
We serve an eternal King whose message affects eternal souls. That’s why “we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).
We serve an eternal King whose message affects eternal souls.
Who was Time magazine’s Person of the Year last year? The year before? Who will be in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Revelation 21:27) because of you?