I thought Steven Curtis Chapman could rest on his laurels after "All About Love" soared the height of Christian sappiness, but he has truly slathered the saccharine in his ungrammatically titled latest, “Good Bye. Mr. President.”
He says the song is apolitical: “Whether you voted for him & love him, or you’ve disagreed with all his policies and dislike him… Could we all agree on this? We owe President Bush a sincere thank you.”
This is the first “It’s not that simple” this song provokes. If approval polls are any indication, quite a lot of people voted for him and loved him and now disagree with all his policies and dislike him. And the song is not apolitical. At all.
Goodbye Mr. President– It will not be forgotten
All the courage and the hope you helped us find.
I can’t imagine how you felt to stand where you were standing
And to try to make the calls you thought were right.
So for all the sleepless nights I’m sure you must have had
That put those lines around your eyes
For how you carried the way even when the lights ran out
I’m sure you’ll never know how much it meant
But thank you Mr. President.
I don’t think you have to be anti-Bush to search within for the courage and hope he’s given you to face impending economic deprivation, and not find it. Even if you believe in Bush, can you objectively say we have more hope than we did eight years ago, when we had a surplus and jobs and tanks full of gas and no one was fighting a war it's too late to end? Objectively, the world’s a darker place. We may not be able to blame Bush for all of it, but if anyone has more hope than they had before, I’d like to know how they can credit Bush for giving it.
The second "It's not that simple" this song provokes—it illustrates how some Christians evaluate their leaders and vote. If he tries to do the right thing, if he gives us everything he’s got, and especially if he prays, then pull that lever.
For all the sleepless nights I’m sure you must have had
For all the prayers I’m sure you prayed
For how you tried to lead us when the way was so unclear
I’m sure it wasn’t always evident
But thank you Mr. President. …
So for those days ahead when they write about the past
And everybody has their say
From all of us who know you gave us everything you could
We hope you will remember this, Thank you Mr. President.
Did he actually choose the right way or did he just want to? Is he actually a leader, or did he just aspire? Does it really matter that he gave us everything he could if he failed? It’s absurd to evaluate a leader based on his good intentions because very few begin with the intention of being a terrible one. Very few think, "Oh! I think I'll leave a legacy of ruin!"
Leadership is not "all about love love love love love." You can argue that he didn't fail, but please, please argue that. Don't argue that at least he tried.
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