With the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States yesterday, January 20, 2017, the election year of 2016 finally reached its culmination when President-elect Trump spoke these words at high noon and became President Trump:
“I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, so help me God.” (Quote source here, YouTube video here.)
In an ironic twist of fate, I was unable to vote in this election year. I’ve only missed voting in two presidential elections in my lifetime and both were for the same reason. The first time it happened was during the 2004 election when I had moved from one city to another city in Florida and was unable to get my address changed within the 30-day registration requirement before the election, and in this election year, 2016, I was registered to vote in Florida but was visiting Houston at the time of the election, and my mail-in ballot was back languishing in my PO Box in Orlando leading up to Election Day.
It’s an odd feeling not to be able to vote–at least it is for me. And this was such a heated election cycle unlike any in recent history (and, unfortunately, it was the first election cycle many in the younger generation witnessed and could vote in as young adults since President Obama served for two four-year terms). I tend to think that the heat, anger, nastiness, and vitriol were greatly exacerbated by social media, much of which didn’t exist in it’s present form or was barely getting off the table and still in it’s infancy back during the election cycle when President Obama was elected president in 2008. Anything (good, bad and ugly) in today’s world is instantaneously broadcast throughout the entire world with a click of a button. And the level of mocking and disrespect found in our society today, too, is at an all time and unprecedented high.
Maybe I’m just getting old but I’ve always believed that the Office of the President and the person occupying that position at any point in our history should be highly respected regardless of whether we voted for that person or not, or whether we agree with them or not. That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. It is much more a societal issue then it is about any one man or woman occupying the Office of the President. If we disrespect the very leaders that “we the people” elected (regardless of whether or not our candidate or party won), it speaks volumes about our country to the rest of the world. And I’m not quite sure in the past decade why this general disrespect has grown into a favorite pastime of ours. Seems like we don’t respect much of anything or anyone except what we individually like or think about someone else. So how did we get to the point (and why did we get to the point) where president-bashing has become a national pastime?
I had, have and will continue to have enormous respect for President Obama during his eight years as President, even though I disagreed on some major decisions he made during his tenure. I’m a registered “Independent” with conservative leanings, and I didn’t vote for him either time because of his political leanings (well, he almost got my vote in the second election cycle), but the political process is the same every election cycle–somebody wins and somebody loses–and usually half of us don’t get who we were hoping would be elected. So what has made this election cycle so much more vitriol?
It’s not that President Obama didn’t have his naysayers and mockers as all presidents do have them; but in this election cycle when President Trump was elected in November, the loudest anti-Trump voices came up with the hashtag #NotMyPresident (we didn’t even have hashtags in the 2008 election cycle). Well, President Trump just became our 45th president and if we are living in America, he is our president. Why not give him a chance just like President Obama had his chance, and President Bush and President Clinton had their chance, as did all of the presidents going back to George Washington who have helped to make America great.
I have steered clear of politics most of my life (other than voting) because–as the old saying goes–“if you can’t stand the heat stay out of the kitchen.” And I can’t stand the heat and hatred and negative garbage that comes out every election cycle. We are supposed to be civilized people, right? We talk about “tolerance” while being incredibly “intolerant” of others. What’s up with that, anyway? It still boils down to “my way or the highway” even when we supposedly are talking of “tolerance.”
I fear for a nation that has lost it’s respect for just about anybody or everybody they happen to disagree with, and it’s not just during presidential election cycles and being on the “receiving” end of the disdain by those whose candidate didn’t win. We witness it in every corner of our lives today–this general lack of respect for anything or anyone we don’t like or even know and certainly don’t care to get to know either, for whatever reason (and often we don’t even need a reason). You tell me how God can bless a nation that acts like that to each other.
This, of course, is not to say that there isn’t a lot of good going on in our society, too, but the divisiveness of this political election year and the increase in violent acts and rioting across our nation over the past several years speaks to a deep divide. While peaceful protesting in a Constitutionally protected act, the divisions are exacerbated by the media and on social media, too.
The Office of the President should be given the utmost respect regardless of who is occupying the position at any given point in history. When we lose our respect for our own president (whether we voted for that person or not), we’ve lost something that is very basic to the core of our nation. When everything is “up for grabs” and anything or anyone can be openly mocked and ridiculed and nobody cares, then don’t be surprised someday if we wake up to an America we no longer recognize or like or no longer have any choices in either; and we will have no one else to blame but ourselves.
If we want God to bless America again, it starts with us and how we treat others. . . .
God Bless America. . .
Before it’s too late. . .
And God Bless President Trump (and his administration), too . . . .
YouTube Video: “Made in America” by Toby Keith: