By way of full disclosure, I did not watch the State of Union Address that night; I have not watched for years. I believe the Speech has become a political infomercial for the party of the President that twists facts and numbers to make things look better than they genuinely are. We need to return to the days before Woodrow Wilson when the President sent a written report to Congress. However that is not the point of this essay.
Over the last few decades, I have witnessed the destruction of what I would consider decency and honor. Yes, I have participated in this, we all have or would not be here right now, but the time has come for it to stop. In the last few days, I have been the witness to an unbelievable level of hatred and from people that should know better.
It was announced that Radio Talk Show host Rush Limbaugh is battling lung cancer. Not be able to breathe is a horrible thing. I watched my father die from lung-related issues, and it is a horrendous way to die, and I would not wish that on my worst enemy. I will pray for Mr. Limbaugh even though I disagree with him and place much of the blame for the divisions at his feet. But those who listen and brought him to the top of the ratings have a part to play in that as well. But I will pray for him because he is a human being that is suffering. I understand that he caused many, many people to suffer but that does not mean, as a Christian who preaches love everyone, that I can turn my back on him. Hatred is destructive to everyone.
Last night the President of the United States, also someone I disagree with and believe is the cause of the continued divisions in this country, came to Congress and gave the annual State of the Union Speech. He stood in the very same chamber where only a few weeks before Articles of Impeachment were passed and sent to the Senate. As is custom, the President presents a copy of his speech to the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House then shakes their hands. The President did not shake the Speaker’s hand. Some have claimed he did not see it, and maybe that is the case, but it is the custom to shake, and he should have known it was coming — no need for that.
In the end, as all were rising, the Speaker tore up the Speech that was presented to her. Some have called this a bold and brave move; I call it rude, disrespectful, and childish. Disagree with the President, call him a criminal and pass articles of impeachment, work to defeat him at the ballot box, and all the rest, but one does not defeat their enemy by being rude. Sure, some will say he started it, well, that argument did not work on the playground and it certainly will no work in Congress!
It was once said, and I cannot remember who said it, “when they go low, we go high” there was only low on display last night, and that is sad. We, the United States of America, have become the laughing stock of the world, and that was only furthered last night. I expect more of my President, and I expect more of the leader of Congress, who represents me.
But I will take it a bit further. This morning as I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, I came across a post from a gentleman that I have an enormous amount of respect for, although we usually come down on different sides of political issues. In his post, he called the Speaker of the House, a “classless bitch.” I wonder how he would feel if someone used that language about his wife or daughter? Regardless of how you think about someone using that language is just uncalled for. I commented about how disappointed I was in his use of language and urged him to remove the post. As of this writing, it is still there.
Friends, we did not get here because one side or the other acted one way or another, we got here because we allowed ourselves to get here. Rush Limbaugh did not rise in the ratings by himself, Donald Trump did not get elected President by himself, the level of hatred in this country did not get here because of one side or the other, we got here because “We the People” allowed it and “We the People” need to stop it!
Hatred is destructive and only leads to more hatred. Hate is a lethal force that only harms the one doing the hating, you. There are ways to disagree without lowering ourselves into the gutter and start slinging mud when we do that all we accomplish is we get dirty. I do not like Donald Trump; I think that point is clear. I do not like his tactics, I’m not too fond of his policies, and I do not like the people he has surrounded himself. I believe he plays to our base emotions and divides rather than unites. I will oppose him with every fiber of my being, but I do not hate him. I cannot let myself hate him because that will destroy me.
Battles are not won by employing the same tactics that our enemy uses; battles are won by taking and holding the high ground.