“Today is Inauguration Day,” I thought to myself early this morning, and it occurred to me that “Inauguration Day” would be a great title for a horror movie.
The plot could go something like this: For eight years the country had suffered under an evil president who feared neither God nor man and cared nothing for the truth or the Constitution. At last this villain came to the end of his second term. The Democrats, of course, nominated someone just as bad. But–here comes the scary part–the Republican primary voters, the people who had traditionally stood for truth, justice, and the American way, now seemed bewitched. They nominated a man who was, in terms of character, more evil than the previous president, except that he gave lip-service to a few conservative policies, while rejecting the others. He lied constantly and frequently shifted his positions. He was a notorious adulterer and boasted about it but said he had nothing for which to repent. Yet even ostensible evangelical leaders came out for him and said God wanted to use him to save the country and restore righteousness.
Wait. Let’s drop that last part. No one would believe it.
So, anyway, this guy gets elected. Seriously. And it’s Inauguration Day, and all the good and sane people in the country are wondering if this guy is really going to do any of those good things he occasionally talked about or if he’s going to live down to the level of his previous character and be a worse president than the one before, which is especially scary because no one can even picture what a worse presidency would look like.
And did I mention that this guy gives total rein to his depravity? Maybe for an added touch, we could have his wife be a porn star, so that the United States would actually have a First Lady who was a . . .
But no. No, this whole thing is over the top. No one would ever believe any of it. You can see why I’m a history professor and not a Hollywood script writer.
OK, then, let’s look at today’s inauguration in terms of historical perspective. Trump will immediately score several historical firsts. At 70 years of age, he will be the oldest president ever inaugurated. He will also be the most frequently married president in American history, having more ex-wives than all forty-four previous presidents combined. With a reputed personal fortune of $4.5 billion, he will be the richest president. And he will be the only president never previously to have served either in government or in the military.
There are some disturbing firsts, however. True, we’ve had presidents who have lied. Most recently we’ve had Barrack “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” Obama. Before that there was Bill “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” Clinton. There was Jimmy “I’ll never lie to you” Carter, and Richard “I’m not a crook” Nixon. Here’s what’s different about Trump:
First, his lies are more numerous, blatant, and obvious. Other lying presidents tried to fool people and sometimes did. Trump simply demands that you redefine the truth to be whatever he wants it to be at the moment. When he voices something like his claim that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the Kennedy assassination, he realizes that every halfway intelligent person listening to him knows at that moment that the claim is false. His lie is an implied threat that you will be ruined, ostracized, guilty of electing Hillary Clinton or killing babies, if you don’t agree to redefine the truth in the way he demands. Thus he requires his supporters to participate in his lies.
Second, the majority of the people who voted for Trump, know he’s a liar. The American people have elected a man of openly depraved character whom they know to be an habitual liar. Now some of you are thinking, “Didn’t they elect Barrack Obama knowing he is a liar?” Not exactly. He is indeed a liar, and some of us believed it from the first, but we didn’t vote for him. The people who voted for him overwhelmingly believed he was telling the truth.
Of course, those who knew Trump was a liar and voted for him anyway can say in their defense that the Democratic candidate was also a liar. Obviously. But by voting for Trump as an open liar, they demonstrated not only that there are not enough honest people in America today to elect a president by themselves, but also that a party may have their votes, en masse, without making so much as a nod in the direction of the truth. That may have grave consequences in the future.
So then, faced with this grim Inauguration Day, what are we to do?
Pray. Pray for Donald Trump that he will come to repentance. Recognizing how evil he is should not deter us from praying for him but rather motivate us all the more. Pray that even if he doesn’t repent, God will turn his heart to do what is good while he’s in office. Pray for the American people that God will turn them from their wicked ways and turn them to the truth, to repentance, and to Himself.
With God’s help, be one small point in the beginning of the change this country truly needs–now more than ever.