This morning I scanned the news and was amused by one commentary which went to great lengths to diagnose the mental conditions held by our new president. Just out of curiosity I checked his credentials and did not see a degree in psychology among them.
The President certainly is interesting. However, I believe it is foolishness to expect any president to be perfect. The common pattern of behavior by politicians is to present a façade of perfection. Therefore, the real choice is not between perfect and imperfect, but instead between transparent and guarded.
With transparency comes a sea of criticism, but at the same time there is the chance to understand the person as an individual. With a guarded persona comes an assurance they will always be professional in public, but at the same time you may never be able to understand or trust what they are doing in private.
Given those choices I am willing to accept the president who allows his true self to be seen, even though I don’t always endorse the character displayed.
While reading through Zechariah today it occurred to me that God often magnifies a people’s sin in the process of setting them up for judgement. For example, the foolishness of the idolatry of Israel was put on display by the events with Elijah on Mount Carmel. The selection of Saul entirely apart from any understanding of his character moved the people toward the misery of living under a King other than God their King.
Perhaps a more modern day example is taking place in our time. The two presidential candidates both had deep moral flaws. They could easily represent the abuse of power and the obsession with sexuality, two evils which currently define our nation. We have willingly given ourselves to these evils, and both are highlighted in the public accusations against the two candidates.
I also notice, more while reading Matthew than Zechariah, that hypocrisy is a sin of special concern in Jesus teaching. He chastises the religious leaders for despising the common people. The leaders accuse them of falling short on the minor points of the moral law, while they themselves ignore or work around the weightier points. He helped the rich to see that their belief in their own goodness was false, and that their devotion to wealth was greater than their devotion to God.
A modern day example of this hypocrisy is visible in that those who favor a candidate so easily accuse the failures of the opposing candidate. It didn’t matter which candidate won, there was going to be immediate calls for impeachment. Meanwhile both sides fail to see that the candidate on their side has genuine problems, as well. Even worse, the nation continues to deepen this divide by demonizing the supporters of their opponents.
No matter who had won the election, the path to saving America must include the unifying of the population. It is a myth of our times, that people with opposing viewpoints cannot work together. We can stand together to rebuild our strength, without agreeing on anything more than America needs to be better. If we unify then we can take an honest look at the evils enslaving us. Seeing those evils will require us to abandon the hypocrisy and to see the weaknesses of both sides. But if we do this, if we humble ourselves before God, we will begin to tame these issues by the resources provided to us as one nation, once again choosing to be, under God.