The United States of America is in a pandemic. The country went on lockdown in March due to the spread of COVID-19 from China to the remainder of the globe. While COVID started spreading here as early as January, the country did not go under a lockdown order until March. The media continues to hammer home the point that Trump waited until weeks after the spread of COVID to do something. Trump continues to insist that he did everything above board and acted as quickly as he could.
Now, it’s 8 months, soon to be 9 months, later, and the country is in limbo. President Trump promised a second stimulus check after the election, but nothing has happened. Congress went home for Thanksgiving, no stimulus check in sight. The main reason behind the stalling in Congress, though, has a lot to do with the election. In what will be one election for the history books, the nation went to the polls and voted out the incumbent. The current vote totals stand at over 80 million votes for Biden versus nearly 74 million votes for Trump. The vote difference comes to about 6 million votes (popular votes), giving Biden a landslide victory in the popular vote. Biden also won the Electoral College, 306-232, yet another “landslide” — a phrase that Trump used regarding his Electoral College win back in 2016.
And with the election now over with, and the people having voted out Trump, he’s pouting. He’s mad. He’s upset that other Republicans were voted to an additional term, while he was not. And that pouting attitude explains why he doesn’t care to usher in another stimulus check. That attitude explains why he’s throwing away millions of dollars on false claims of voter fraud. That attitude also explains why Trump is golfing with a grudge.
“Gone golfing”: the problem with presidential neglect
Trump is guilty of presidential neglect. Though the US has come some ways forward from where the country was in March, life is still not back to normal yet. Though some are working from home and have resumed their jobs as best they can, others haven’t gone back to work yet. And in the midst of COVID, there’s economic unrest and hope for vaccines to come along and restore some normalcy to American life. And in the midst of this, Americans need money. Businesses need money. Individual citizens need money. And yet, despite the nation’s need for a President to step up and unite the nation, and show the nation that “we’re all in it together,” the President has decided, in his anger, to go golfing.
It’s been said that Trump has golfed at least once every 5 days in his term as President according to CNN. As of May, Trump had played golf on 248 days of his presidency, as opposed to Obama’s 98 days of golf by the end of his presidency. And Trump criticized Obama’s golfing as neglect of his presidential duties.
Well, now that Trump has lost the bid for a second term, with voter fraud lawsuit victories very slim (only 1 or 2 out of 38 at this point), it appears as though Trump is no longer interested in his duties. Instead of signing executive orders to increase care for Americans in the pandemic, instead of working to encourage Congress to come forward with an acceptable stimulus package, Trump has “gone golfing.”
the difference between hirelings and Presidents
It appears that, with the nonchalant attitude of the incumbent, Trump has succumbed to the worst fear about him: he’s a hireling, in it for the money and financial profit, not to serve the nation. Jesus’ words in the Gospel of John pertain to the shepherd and hireling, but they are fitting for the President as well:
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. (John 10:11-15, NKJV).
The context of John 10 is the shepherd of the sheep, that being Jesus, but it reminds us that true shepherds do the job of watching over the sheep, the flock. Have you ever seen a shepherd that didn’t stay and protect the sheep from wolves getting in the pen? If a shepherd neglected the sheep and left them to fend for themselves, we’d think the shepherd was incompetent and negligent, would we not?
If a mother chick left her baby chicks in the nest to be eaten, we’d think the mother chick was a bad mother, would we not? Now, let’s take the analogy to human life: if a human mother left her children at home alone to go off for 3 days, we’d expect Child Protective Services (CPS) to pay a visit to the home and law enforcement to arrest the mother at her return, right?
And if we see a President go golfing while the country is suffering, we’d think the President is a bad leader, right?
That last one is thrown in there like a curveball, but unfortunately, it fits, doesn’t it? As much as I hate to say it, President Trump’s golfing isn’t benefiting the country. Rather, it’s only benefiting him. And the President should not “ask what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” according to a statement made by former President John F. Kennedy. Trump is more concerned with what his position allows him to do than using the remaining time in office to think about healing the divide in the country. In case he hasn’t checked it in a while, the electoral map represents anything politically except the United States we are geographically.
The President is not your Savior, and a vote for or against the incumbent is not salvation, but we expect the President to lead, to care, to guide, to comfort, to step up to the plate when tragedy happens. To use Jesus’ words in John 10, as the political shepherd of this national flock (US citizens), we expect President Trump to protect the nation from defenselessness and helplessness (and I’m not talking about enlisting the US military, either). Trump’s failure to do that makes me think that he’s not a true leader, but a hireling — someone who took the position for the fame, money, and publicity it would bring him. That’s not the attitude of a leader, but of a petulant child who hasn’t grown up yet.
Golfing with a grudge helps Trump work off some steam, but it’s another sign that President Trump doesn’t love God or country as much as he says he does. Actions speak louder than words.
hurt isn’t an excuse for neglect
Some would say, “Well, Trump is upset he lost the election. He needs some time to grieve the loss because it’s hard for anyone to accept defeat. I understand how Trump feels. I have been done wrong by Christians whom I believed knew better but just didn’t care. I know what it’s like to put your all in something and your efforts still not come out good enough. So I understand where he’s coming from. I can identify with hurt, disappointment, and pain. I know what it’s like to feel rejection. You don’t feel good after you’ve worked hard for 4 years of high school to remain at the top of your class, valedictorian (number 1 in the class), headed into the final stretch of the semester, only to be rejected by Ivy League Duke University for college admissions — and walk away, feeling nothing. And the worst part of getting rejected from Duke University is that my mother is actually an alum of the institution.
I have worked hard for many things, applied for jobs, only to be turned down from them. We all know the sting of rejection all too well, and we know how much it hurts. And for many of us, we’ve not yet quite gotten over those painful experiences. I was rejected from Duke University in the Spring of 2002, and I still remember it 18 years later. So those hurts don’t go away, no matter how much we’d like to forget them.
But President Trump is still President Trump, despite the loss of the 2020 election. And he has a nation of people to govern. It’s his job to look out for the welfare of the nation, not to golf. Golfing is not his job, but governing a nation full of people who have lost loved ones, friends, and morale behind this horrible COVID-19 pandemic, is. The country needs to see its President acting presidential, giving words of comfort to hurting hearts, praying for our troops, who carry the love of country and fear of their own survival, in their hearts and minds. We need to see a President calling nurses and doctors in hospitals filled with capacity to thank them for their service. We need to see a President praying for the souls of his citizens as well as his own. These times are hard on the entire nation, and at a time when an election has divided us, we need to see a President who can still bring us together.
Above all this, we need a President who will do his job. And, the last time I checked, “golfing with a grudge” isn’t part of the Presidential job description.