I hope just a bit of hope that today’s inauguration would bring out the best in our new president. As he walked through the White House on his way out to be sworn in, Trump (yes, I’ll now capitalize his name out of respect for his office) looked kike a man walking to his own execution. That gave me some hope that it was dawning on him that he has a level of responsibility now that he seemed never to grasp up to this point.
He opened his speech by calling Mr. Obama “terrific.” And that again made me think he was catching on. But then he went on to insult every past and present leader, including the four past presidents sitting in his presence.
In other words, rather than rising to the occasion, Trump is continuing to be a typically petty person, defining himself by what and who he is against. After extensively insulting America’s leaders, Trump called for unity. That call was eviscerated in advance by the insults. For Trump, “unity” means nothing more than an obligation upon everyone else to agree with him. He sees unity as happening when everyone comes to his side without him taking responsibility for moving toward them.
Trump may not yet have risen to the occasion but that just means we have to pray all the more for him. We need for him to succeed because, if all the bad omens prove true, we will all suffer. Yet it is crucial that he succeed not in his most ridiculous ideas (such as the literal wall on our southern border). He must sort through his own rhetoric to identify what is really worthwhile (such as investing in America’s infrastructure).
Among Trump’s most ridiculous ideas sounds really good to some people: His insistence on “America First,” thus condoning a level of selfishness that does not befit the greatest nation on earth, is a retread from the 1930s. At that point the America First emphasis kept us from joining in the Second World War in time to save tens of thousands of lives. It merely prolonged the inevitable without doing America any good at all.
Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” May Mr. Trump learn quickly what that means.
Great people and great nations are made better by their virtues, such as generosity and compassion. Those who devote themselves to lesser values, such as greed and selfishness, diminish themselves and all who depend upon them.
So, get on with the praying!