If we’ve ever needed the Lord’s Prayer, we sure do need it now. I don’t know about you but there have been days when I don’t know what to pray. Or, perhaps, it is better said that I don’t know where to begin to pray. With a new administration that has had a rough start to say the least, I find my head in my hands more often than I can remember in recent years.
“Our Father in Heaven …” I am disgusted by a return to the blatant use of separatist language and claims of our America. The calls for a border wall, the “extreme vetting” of persons who would desire citizenship and the banning of Muslims is painfully familiar. We have been down this road before and it gets us nowhere. Before this election, I would not have believed that we would take these steps again.
I also would have thought most Christian Americans cared about the foreigner and the stranger. It’s a commandment (Leviticus 19:34). But I was wrong. “America first.” An oldy but goody that was used in the early 20th century, it is just as isolationist in practice today as it was then. America first and only then will I help you. America first, so take a number. America first, so get in line.
Often the despair kicks in when President Trump has a phone or a pen in his hands. It has been said, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” But in this case, his pen becomes a sword, cutting at the fabric of American democracy and dividing family members along party lines. Pick a side — red or blue? Or, truer still, it’s me or Trump? “Hallowed be your name …”
The White House has now become the protest site for those advocating for the marginalized and mistreated. Certain that Trump will offend, the question is asked, “What are we protesting about this week?” Some people are getting used to being upset and are hypervigilant to ensure that his policies don’t cross their needs off the list.
While Trump is keeping track of the ratings for the show The Apprentice for which he is the producer, he has the lowest approval rating of any president in recent history. And it’s only fair because when you claim that you grab women by their genitals, there will is no honeymoon — period. Perhaps, the numbers are fudged; maybe some of those counted are the three to five million people that he believes voted illegally during the last election. Still, the facts and the alternate facts are a lot to keep track of.
And Trump seems hell-bent on shaking things up, even if it means moving the checks and balances of power around. He doesn’t seem to think the Constitution tells him what to do. Attacking the credibility of judges, disrespecting foreign leaders, allegedly talking foreign policy in front of guests at his Mar-a-Lago resort — can we have just one day without the White House drama and it feeling like a reality television show? Because this can’t be real life. This has to be scripted for ratings and to keep us watching our social media feed. “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
I have never been so word-weary, watching reporters chase and then pin down the truth. The daily need to confront and challenge the lies of the American government is dumbfounding. Insert propaganda here. The White House staff’s claims of fake news reports by journalists make the good of Jesus Christ music to my ears and food for my soul. “Give us this day our daily bread.”
Exhausted from hearing how many people attended Trump’s inauguration, how much Trump is doing for the American economy and, at every meeting, the reminder that he won the election, I have never been so disgusted with the look of pride. We get it. You are number 45 and proof that anyone can be president of the United States.
To be sure, I knew that this would be a difficult transition. Trump ran a divisive campaign and managed to offend women, African Americans, Mexicans, Muslims, the disabled community and any other that wasn’t voting for him. For some, he is what America wants and his words are what Americans need to hear. Apparently, we needed someone to “tell it like it is” with all the bigoted, misogynistic and racist trimmings.
I continue to struggle with an America that graded Trump’s fitness for political office on a huge curve, who discounted his disrespect for women, who saw unemployment as the greater of the two evils. I cannot get my head around the fact that he has not apologized to all those he has offended and that we don’t expect him to. “And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”
“Give him a chance,” his allies say. But how many and to do what? I am spread thin by the coverage of daily gaffes (“Who is Frederick Douglass?”), awkward handshakes, political missteps and outright lies. I brace myself when I pick up my phone or turn on the television for the evening news. “What did he do now?” While Saturday Night Live has provided comic relief, there are so many things for which laughter is not the best medicine. No, I am sick of this. “And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.”
So, Lord, teach me how to pray for a leader that I strongly disagree with, one who ironically became president without extreme vetting (“Show me your taxes”) and who could benefit from putting others first. To be sure, I don’t want a Republican or Democratic kingdom. “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”