What follows is something I wrote in 2015 about President Barak Obama. I thought about updating it—transposing Obama with Trump and changing some details—and when the backlash came, bringing out the original version to drive the point home.
That would have been the more artistic route, but I’d rather speak plainly and challenge those who read to do the transposing themselves, hoping that the reader will engage and reflect. It’s easy not to like Donald Trump, but everything I’m about to say is just as true with our current President as with the prior.
President Obama Deserves Our Respect, Even If We Don’t Agree With Him
President Barack Obama recently visited my alma mater, the University of Kansas. When I perused the pictures and articles surrounding the event, I was overwhelmed by the rudeness President Obama’s visit sparked. Even though K.U. is the most liberal school in a state that voted Republican in both elections, I was still surprised by the backlash.
I won’t go into detail on some of the comments; you can find them easily enough if you’re curious. I realize that with President Obama’s final term coming to an end a lot of Republicans are happy to see him go, and many Democrats are disenchanted with what he’s accomplished. Regardless of your feelings about President Obama, the man deserves respect for several reasons.
Before I get into the reasons, let me clarify something: I have never been a fan of President Obama. I voted against him twice, even though I didn’t particularly like McCain or Romney. I disagree with him on almost every major political issue I can think of—healthcare reform, immigration, abortion, homosexual marriage, etc.—and most other topics as well. I believe President Obama has done potentially irreparable damage to the U.S.A. during his tenure. Enjoying college basketball and filling out a bracket every year is one of the few things I know I have in common with our President.
With all that said, President Obama still deserves respect. Here are four reasons why:
- We need to remember exactly how impressive a feat it is to become president—and not just once but twice. There is no greater position in our country and arguably in the world. President Obama has gone from an infant like all the rest of us to the very top of the food chain. If nothing else, his ascent is something to admire.
- President Obama is a human being. His taking office didn’t give me an excuse to treat him without the same level of common courtesy every other person deserves. I wouldn’t blatantly disrespect an average American who holds to our President’s belief system. If anything else, becoming President should garner greater respect, which takes me to my third point.
- If you respect America, you should respect our President regardless of who he is. There are plenty of things I don’t agree with about America, but there are a huge number of areas I take great pride in. I still believe America is the greatest country on earth. My love for my country demands that I show respect for its leader.
- This fourth reason is aimed at Christians (which a majority of Americans still claim to be). There isn’t anything in the Bible that encourages us to disrespect our leaders, just the opposite actually. Aside from passages like Romans 13, look at the way people like Daniel, Esther, Joseph, and Paul acted before political figures. Even Jesus during his bogus trials treated the high priest and Pilate with respect; he stuck to his beliefs and spoke the truth, but he didn’t sink to insults. If Christians can’t mimic Christ in such a basic fashion, it’s no wonder people dismiss our testimony.
Can we even do something beyond respect for just a minute and imagine what life is about to be like for the President as a human being? He’s coming out of his prime. President Obama is about to finish his highest achievement. Think for just a little about the life implications this has for him. Comparatively speaking, the rest of his life will be a matter of sinking into obscurity. He will never be as powerful, successful, and influential as he has been. What a somber reality for any human.
I’m not suggesting that we should all just agree with President Obama during the rest of his term. I think we should hold to our values as firmly as ever and strive for what we believe. However, in the midst of that, we need to treat our President—in this case, Barack Obama—with respect.
I’ll repeat what I said earlier; it’s easy not to like Donald Trump. Much as I disagreed with Obama, I now miss many things about him, like complete sentences. However, everything I said in 2015 still holds true for Trump.
Yes, I wish President Trump would do a lot of things differently: I wish he would close his twitter account, I wish he would show respect to others, and I wish some Christian leaders would stop pretending Trump models Christianity.
All that wishing aside though, I can disagree and object yet still be respectful. We all can.