On Judging A President

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Nancy Gibbs recently wrote a thoughtful essay for TIME entitled, “Parallel Universe: Judge a Presidency by Its Crises Avoided.” I really appreciated her warning to those of us who harshly judge our Presidents. She wrote:

“[George W.] Bush has said many times that President Obama ‘deserves my silence.’ Every President will have his critics, but in the modern age, they seldom include his predecessors.”

Of all the people in the world who could rightfully criticize a U.S. President, it would be a former President. And yet they seldom do.

Only a former President can understand the crushing weight of the role. The pressure of making decisions that affect millions of people. The loneliness that proceeds from the realization that he will always be misunderstood, because no one—no one—has access to all the information he does.

The popular proverb, “Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his boots,” comes to mind.

I am particularly burdened when fellow followers of Jesus speak disrespectfully about a President. We ought to know better.

I’m not saying we can’t ever voice our dissent. But I am suggesting that we bathe our grievances in humility and respect before we air them.

To read Gibbs’ article in full, click here.

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