Monday, September 14, 2009

Respect for Leaders

Well, it has been a while (not that anyone has noticed :-) but now suddenly I am inspired again! So, here it is:

The saga around Congressman Joe Wilson calling President Obama a liar was in the news, but even more so the response to the whole thing is quite amazing.

I am quite a fan of "West Wing" - even though I initially (naively) believed it was a vision of how the country wanted to be, and have realised that even if things were that good (which in some senses they are with President Obama), I still wouldn't be entirely satisfied (then again, who would ever be "entirely satisfied" with the state of a country, the things I say! But I digress). One of the scenes which made quite an impression on me was when President Bartlett (played by Martin Sheen) was considering whether to give Debbie Fiderer (played by Lily Tomlin) the job as his personal assistant. The exact details are a bit hazy but the point which struck me was that despite the fact that she had written a letter of protest to a previous President, she had still shown respect for the office, but referring to "Mr. President.

This made an impression on me, and even in our own country, where we now have a President which was under investigation for corruption prior to his taking office, and who also was tried for rape (and found not guilty), but who will remain infamous for saying that he believed a shower was sufficient to protect him from HIV infection! (Following on which, he was always recognisable in cartoons by our most well-known political cartoonist Zapiro, by the showerhead attached to his head). But the man is now my President, and even Zapiro, out of respect for that position, made a great show of removing the showerhead (even if it does hover above his head in most cartoons, a bit like a halo of sorts). That might not have gone as far as some would have liked, but it was still a show of respect on the part of Zapiro.

Then we come to the "you lie" incident. I have to say that I am disappointed! Even under the presidency of George W. I thought that there was still some semblance of respect (although what do I know?), but for a Congressman, during a speech in the House to yell such a thing, shows, as he admits himself, a complete lack of self-control, and I daresay, self-respect. That is one thing, the show of support however is something else, and it is astounding to me how much emotion the Health Bill seems to have invoked in the US. What scares me even more is wondering how many "christians" are the ones who are supporting Wilson and doing the heckling themselves. Like Sarah Palin's emotional rather than factual comments about "death panels". I have to be honest and say that it is "christians" like that who make me ashamed of the label!

Guys, just remember, the Bible clearly says we should pray for our leaders, and render to caesar what is caesar's. I do not understand how you can react emotionally and disrespectfully for someone you pray for. Even politics and legislation is a bit like the Bible: though we see through a glass darkly (it's not easy to fully understand everything). But I think the point that I am making is that perhaps it is time to grow up, and remember that we're to live in the spirit, not in the flesh (or by emotions), and that is what will make us a good fragrance to God. Though I may not always be able to live up to it myself, this saga with Congressman Wilson has made me think about how that fragrance is about respecting leaders, and where we strongly believe that they are not doing God's will, to pray, and when acting, act in respect, for they too are the creation of God.

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