I sat through eight long years of hearing president Obama criticized, mocked, and even outright slandered.
From allegations of secretly being a Muslim, spinning conspiracy theories about the location of his birth, to the ins-and-outs of daily Chicken Little claims that he was on a rampage to destroy the nation, I heard it all.
In fact, when his presidency started I was actually one of them. But long after leaving, they continued– in fact, the barrage of nasty being flung from the right lasted until his last day in office.
A case in point is our own beloved Franklin Graham. He’s used his family name to insert himself into the daily political life of the United States, and hardly missed a day trolling Facebook and whipping up a frenzy of fear against President Obama. When that got tiring, he moved on to Hillary Clinton. Eventually he decided to just double-down and make it all about the “godless progressive agenda.”
The reality is, the right spent eight long years railing against our president, offering neither support nor the common decency of acknowledging the common ground that can be found with just about anyone if you look hard enough.
In fact, in right-wing conservatism, it’s almost considered a religious duty and moral obligation to speak out in opposition to anyone who isn’t on board with the right-wing vision for America. It’s “speaking the truth in love,” so they say. In fact, those who don’t speak out, or perhaps take a more reasonable nuanced approached, are often accused of being complicit with very evils they claim to oppose.
But now that Donald Trump is president?
Well, now that Trump is president “speaking out” is rather frowned upon.
Instead, we’re told that it’s time to “get behind the president,” that it is “time for us to unify together,” and that we must support our new president. After years of non-stop criticism we’re told that now we’re supposed to shut up and unite.
The Franklin Grahams of the world who spent so many years opposing our nation’s first black present, now tell us we should do the opposite when it comes to our first orange one.
Speaking out, criticizing, warning– that’s stuff you do when their team is in power.
But when the script gets flipped?
Well, when power shifts hands, conservatives all of a sudden become against “divisiveness” and criticism, as if they had spent the past eight years in the Peace Corps or something.
My, my, it’s amazing how people change.
Often change is a great thing– I think one of the keys to a rich and fulfilling human experience is always being open to change, seeing things differently, and trying new ways. But in this case, that’s not what’s happening.
Folks on the right like Franklin Graham have never actually believed that we should “get behind the president” because they just spent eight years doing the precise opposite. They don’t actually believe we should be quiet, stop speaking out, and that we should avoid being divisive– they just want those who disagree with them to do that.
Few things in the world have the ability to unveil a hypocrite as much as the allure of political power.
In this case? Well, we’ve seen a group of people who just spent eight years opposing and slandering a president all of a sudden become people who are supposedly against dissent and divisiveness, people who believe in unity, and people who believe in giving a new president every opportunity to succeed.
In my opinion? I don’t think they’re fooling anyone other than themselves. Their calls for “unity” and to avoid divisiveness are nothing more than an attempt to clench down tightly on their new-found political power.
Dr. Benjamin L. Corey is a public theologian and cultural anthropologist who is a two-time graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary with graduate degrees in the fields of Theology and International Culture, and holds a doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is also the author of the new book, Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, which is available wherever good books are sold. www.Unafraid-book.com.