But regardless of who wins (and trust me, barring a third party upset of epic proportions, one of them will win), one thing that will not change is my code. I don't remember when I came up with this, but a few administrations back, after carefully considering what the Bible had to say about my attitudes toward the government, I came up with some principles that would govern how I speak to and about our elected officials (it references the President specifically, but can apply to any kind of leader).
Word of warning: it's easy to follow this code when the President in office is "good" (read, "a President I support"). The challenge is with the President of a different party, or one that makes unpopular decisions, or that gives evidence of doing things that may not be good for the country. But as I study the Bible, I find the principles are not labeled with a D or an R. If Paul can pray for the cruel, pagan tyrant named Nero, do I have a reason not to pray for a President for whom I did not vote?
A couple of quick disclaimers: 1) I am not perfect and at any given time, I have slipped and violated my own code. I don't offer this as judgment, merely as aspiration. 2) We're still friends, whether you agree with me or not.
This will be split between "My Code" and "Guiding Scripture
1. I will refer to the President as "President Name" or "the President." I will avoid using just the last name unless the context of the reference calls for it.
2. I will avoid the use of pejorative nicknames for the President. While well done political satire and humor has its place in our history, I will continue to disapprove of proverbial "cheap shots."
3. As much as possible, I will give the President the benefit of the doubt.
4. I will not automatically believe every bad report about the President, unless there is clear and compelling evidence to support it. I will not entertain news of failure unless it can be objectively verified.
5. I will celebrate the victories and wins of the President that are for the good of the country (not just for the good of the President's party).
6. I will exercise my right as an American citizen to "speak truth to power," to speak against policies and practices that violate my convictions or that I feel are contrary to the best ideas of this country.
7. But when speaking in disagreement, I will always temper my comments with respect and consideration to the man or woman holding the office.
8. I will pray for the President, for his or her success, health, safety, protection, and that he or she would seek and heed the wisdom of God.