Tomorrow, January 20, 2017, we will presumably witness the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States. Never before in my life, and perhaps in the history of the country, has there been such vitriol and venom surrounding the ascension of a person to the highest office in the land – and the world.
What strikes me as odd is the fact that when President Obama took the oath eight years ago, the country was also deeply divided. Many who didn’t believe that Obama was qualified to be President, by virtue of his questionable birth status as a natural born citizen (among other things), fought aggressively during the election cycle to try and prevent the victory of the Democratic Party spearheaded by Senator Barack Obama. But once the dust settled and the votes were tallied, the country unified and moved forward under our first black President – even though there were deep divides between the parties.
Members of Congress, both in the House and the Senate, attended the inauguration and there was, as there has been for more than 200 years, a peaceful transition of power from one administration to another. In fact, President George W. Bush did everything in his power to ensure a smooth transition to the Obama administration and President Obama has confirmed his intention to transfer the office of President to Donald Trump with the same professional decorum that he was afforded by his predecessor.
The United States has been a beacon of continuity for the rest of the world and the peaceful transition of power and authority is one of the hallmarks that is rare in the world. However, this time, I can’t believe the open disdain for the incoming President. It seems that while the Democrats seem to play nice in the sandbox when they win, they fall fall short of the standard that we, as Americans, should expect from members of Congress. While I fully support the two party system and the fact that there is vehement disagreement on various policies and viewpoints, including the Supreme Court, it is nonetheless necessary that Congress, the full Congress, recognize and attend the inauguration as a demonstration of the unity in the belief of the system our forefathers adopted more than two centuries ago.
The call to end the electoral college, that has been in place for generations, in favor of a straight vote tally just doesn’t seem fair for those states that don’t have massive populations that could ultimately tip elections without equal regard for smaller states. That is why we have both a House of Representatives and a Senate – one designed on the premise of population and the other offering representation to each state equally. If you eliminate the electoral college, you might as well disband the Senate also. The system reinforces the checks and balances that our forefathers baked into the Constitution and our founding documents.
And it wasn’t easy back then, either. Freedom isn’t free. It takes commitment and compromise to sustain the nation and the government that was mandated in the late 1700’s. In spite of all the problems, it has endured. Yes, we have massive debt, and neither party seems to have found the formula to keep us fiscally responsible, but tomorrow we will see the beginning of the Trump administration – and he deserves the same chance that Obama had to leave his imprint on America.
After all, even if people didn’t think he had a chance, Trump won the election, based on the laws of the land. And, when I hear about Russia and the charges of election interference, I don’t see evidence that supports the allegation. Aside from that, I find it reprehensible that the US can interfere in the governments of other nations, but balks if and when another country tries to do the same thing to us. Enough, already!
The election is over. The voters of the country have a chance to change things in four years. Until then, please get on the bus. I wonder how many folks who promised to leave the country if Trump was elected are gone yet… none that I have heard of – but I hope they leave. As a nation, we need unity and peace, not divisiveness and threats.
The verse for this evening reflects what I think the country needs. Granted, it is a personal opinion and most of you know that I don’t usually get this amped up about things. But the fighting and scorn from both sides of the aisle has to stop. So let’s just take a moment to hear what Jesus has to say. We are told by the apostle John, one of the favorites of Jesus, in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Those are words we all need to hear. Either President Trump does the job or we change him out in four years. My encouragement this evening is that God created the institution of government and already knows what the future brings. It sounds trite but God is still on the throne. My prayer is that you will give the new President a little grace and a chance to lead the country without undue opposition while preserving the right to have genuine, but respectful, disagreements. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…