I remember the first time I was aware that not everyone respected our US Presidents. I was a very young elementary student, and John F. Kennedy had been elected president. Our class at school was sharply divided or whether or not he was an answer to prayer or a demon straight from hell. We were too young to even have an opinion of our own. Everyone was spouting information, mostly misinformation, based on what they had heard. When I reported a bit of what I had heard, my Dad sharply reprimanded me for repeating ugly things. He reminded me that this man was now our president, and if I had Jesus in my heart, my job was to honor, respect, and pray for him.
I wish everyone would have had a dad like mine. Now I have lived through many presidential elections and subsequent inaugurals. The process is always the same. Some people trashing the outgoing president, claiming now there is hope for the first time in years, and others despairing that we will even make it through the next years with "the Devil himself" running the country. It was true last election, and now it is true again.
Admittedly the vitriol is worse than it has ever been before. I don't know President Obama, nor President-elect Trump. For at least 99.9% of us, that is also true. We are basing our decisions on what we have read and heard from others, most who don't actually know them any better than we do, and those who do cannot help but inject their own personal biases. Why is it worse? My personal opinion is that as the human race winds its way onward, evil will "wax worse and worse." I Timothy 3:13 says evil and seducers will get worse and worse, and many will be deceived. Be careful before you declare who is being deceived and seduced. It might be you.
But in any case, that's not our job. Simple maturity and human courtesy requires far different behavior and speech than a high percentage of people, including Christians, exhibit when political issues are involved. We excuse ourselves when high profile people act in a way that is reprehensible or disrespectful and think it proves validity. As my mother used to say, "If Elvis jumped off a cliff, would that make it smart for you do so?"
What is my position now? The same as it was for Mr. Obama. For Mr. Bush. For Mr. Clinton. All the way back. The same one as it would be if Mrs. Clinton was being sworn in tomorrow. I try to take my cues from God:
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Romans 13:1
Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience' sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. Romans 13:5-7
Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed. Titus 3:1
Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. I Peter 2:13-14
Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.I Peter 2:17
First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.I Timothy 2:1-2
Interesting. We think we have it bad? The leaders they were told to honor and respect in those days were persecutors and tyrants. People were DYING. Far different than today.
My responsibilities are to show respect and honor, obey the law (unless it is immoral and then work vigorously and with integrity for change), and above all to pray specifically for the President and all in authority. It is only reasonable that if I think he is ill-equipped, the wrong person for the job, my commitmentto pray should be even deeper and more sincere. If I have two children and one is in the right place, one is in the wrong place, wisdom and love direct my most passionate prayers towards the one who needs the most help. Why not across the board?
I have been through decades of elections now, and one thing I have learned through personal experience. No president will ever affect my life, my destiny, and my family the way my own choices will. I need to concentrate my angst and effort there.
Thank you, President Obama, for your service and efforts on behalf of our nation. May God be with you and your family in these next years. I am praying for you, President-elect Trump. May you be quick to hear wisdom and courageous to obey. You both are in my prayers.