Monday, February 16, 2015

President's Day--Is it Out of Date?

photo by jeFRE Gilyen / flickr

I don't know about you but in the forties and fifties where I grew up the Press-i-dent was larger than life. Most of my early years there was a picture of Franklin Roosevelt in our school right next to George Washington. Not only did George Washington not tell a lie but how you you possibly be President of the United States and tell a lie? We, the people, had spoken. We had elected our leaders. Surely there were those that hated each President--but not in my neighborhood. The President was the President. Case dismissed.

So you can imagine my horror when I saw this bumper sticker just this week. "My Dog is Smarter Than the President." Must be quite a show dog. This dumb President grew up without a father. He only saw him once in his life. Raised by a single mother. Lived with his white grandparents in Hawaii--wherever that is. He graduated from Harvard and was recognized for his gifts which were many. And when I saw this ugly bumper sticker I wish I could have found the owner of that dog--surely this animal would be front and center on Sixty Minutes. Not to speak of the owner who must have taught him all his smarts.

Haven't we dragged the office of the President through the mud long enough? The other day I heard a U.S. Senator talking about how stupid this President is. Well, a whole lot of stupid people elected him twice. Remember the South Carolina Congressman that screamed: "You lied!" to the President during the State of the Union address. Republican leaders turn down invitations to the White House. One nationally recognized ball team had one player that would not come to the White House recognition ceremony--he despised the President. I've even heard one South Carolina Senator say that President Obama  lied about just about everything. When as a little boy and said preposterous things my Mother would say: "Boy you ought to have your mouth washed out with soap.

photo by arimoore / flickr
If we read much US history we will see that there have always been that cadre of people that hated the President whoever that was.  Many people have tried to kill our different Presidents. Republican or Democrat we need to respect the office of the Presidency. We know that social media has changed a great deal of our communication. And any fool can spew whatever poison he or she chooses and there after many people that believe if it was on the Internet it had to be true. These are the same folk that used to think if it was on the telly it was the God's truth.

Maybe you despise the direction our President is trying to take us. Maybe you disagree with his war policy. Maybe you just want to holler. This is certainly your right. But there is a right way to protest and wrong ways. Let's turn down the thermostat. Let's give this man whom we have elected twice the benefit of the doubt. Do you seriously think he really is trying to destroy the country? Leave his wife and kids alone.

We're talking about a human being. We are in a big mess in this country and it was this way a long time before Barack Obama came to office. But why don't we learn just a little civility. You don't have to be a Democrat to embrace any of his policies. That's the American way. But to demean and call names and make absolutely ridiculous accusations helps no one. Remember how people called Abraham Lincoln a monkey or a ape? Remember when President Andrew Jackson's wife was called a whore? Remember when President Bush was overseas speaking somewhere and a journalist threw a shoe at him? Remember President Kennedy and that terrible day in Dallas?  Was this right? I can remember the old Evangelist in my hometown that preached sermons on: "Why Eisenhower is a Communist." And I can remember how many wanted to impeach President Truman because he cursed.

This is President's Day. A time when we pause and thank God that we have someone who is trying to lead us. If you look at our Presidents they all had clay feet. There were peccadillo's and affairs and financial scandals and poor leadership. And on this day--let us pledge that whoever is President now or in the future--we will respect whether we agree or not.

I remember the old story of Moses, the fledgling leader of the chosen people. Those forty years of wandering must have been something. But there was a time when the people were at war with their enemies. Moses stood on top of the high hill and was exhausted. If he held his hands up his people could see their leader and they would win the battle. And when he was too tired to lift his hands they began to lose the battle. And so Caleb and Joshua, I think, scurried up the mountain. They held up the hands of old tried Moses--and the battle was won. When they let those hands down--the battle was lost.

Maybe if we hold up the hands of whoever it is that leads us--we might discover than we can do a great many positive things we never thought we could do. Maybe we need to keep President's Day after all. But maybe peeling off a few bumper stickers might be a good first step,  

photo b chapstickaddict / flickr

--Roger Lovette /

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