There will be protests today, as Donald Trump is sworn in as President of the United States. I understand that. It was a polarizing campaign and people still haven’t accepted the results emotionally.
Demonstrations though are not the proper response. They won’t make the protesters feel any better, and there is nothing they can do about the office of President until the next election in 2020. Actually, there is something, but sadly, we live in a culture where the most appropriate and effective response isn’t very popular.
No matter what your political beliefs, I think it is fair to acknowledge that today a man who is mostly unprepared for the job becomes, as the cliché puts it, the most powerful person in the world. It may be that you can’t ever be completely ready for the job, but President Trump is singularly unprepared.
Demonstrations will accomplish nothing, except perhaps garner a presidential tweet or two. (Don’t get me started on Twitter – I have suggested that most if not all politicians not be given the password to their Twitter accounts. Life (and governance) is too complex to be reduced to 140 characters.)
What I would propose as an appropriate response to the new president is the same response I would have suggested if Hillary Clinton had won. The election is over; it is time for healing to begin.
Today would be a good day for Americans (and even the rest of us) to spend in fasting and prayer. We are told in Scripture that we should pray for our leaders.
As we read in Paul’s first letter to Timothy: I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleas es God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
Why not spend time today (and other days too) praying for President Trump? Pray for him as an individual and as a political leader. He’s going to need it.
Sometimes it is hard for any of us to pray for certain individuals, especially those we don’t like. I suspect there are many who were praying somewhat seriously that Trump would drop dead before today. They see him as irredeemable. That’s a natural human response perhaps, but – don’t see it as a preferable option. Or as scripturally valid.
Praying for the president (or here in Canada the prime minister) involves you intimately in the process. You may not like him or her, but it is tough for that disdain to continue when you are supporting them in prayer. When you pray you have a vested interest in the outcome.
All the polls and commentators indicate that America is as divided today as it was on election day. President Trump is assuming office with the lowest approval rating of any new president. Congress has been dysfunctional for years as Republicans and Democrats couldn’t find a middle ground, couldn’t agree to put the people and the nation first. Seems the only thing they agree on is their dislike for the other party. Yes, ideology is important, but shouldn’t doing the right thing take precedence?
Donald Trump is not my president. But if I were an American he would be, no matter who got my vote in November. I wish him well, even as I disagree with many of his stated policies, even as I have concerns about his suitability for office, even as I have concerns about him as a person.
I am praying for him today. There are times that should transcend partisan politics. Who knows, if enough people pray for him, he could turn out to defy expectations and be a great president. The only way to find out is to pray.