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Here are the lyrics to the song 'Dear Mr. President' by Pink from her album 'I'm Not Dead.'
Dear Mr. President
Come take a walk with me
Let's pretend we're just two people and
You're not better than me
I'd like to ask you some questions if we can speak honestly

What do you feel when you see all the homeless on the street
Who do you pray for at night before you go to sleep
What do you feel when you look in the mirror
Are you proud

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye
How do you walk with your head held high
Can you even look me in the eye
And tell me why

Dear Mr. President
Were you a lonely boy
Are you a lonely boy
Are you a lonely boy
How can you say
No child is left behind
We're not dumb and we're not blind
They're all sitting in your cells
While you pay the road to hell

What kind of father would take his own daughter's rights away
And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay
I can only imagine what the first lady has to say
You've come a long way from whiskey and cocaine

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye
How do you walk with your head held high
Can you even look me in the eye

Let me tell you bout hard work
Minimum wage with a baby on the way
Let me tell you bout hard work
Rebuilding your house after the bombs took them away
Let me tell you bout hard work
Building a bed out of a cardboard box
Let me tell you bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work
You don't know nothing bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work

How do you sleep at night
How do you walk with your head held high
Dear Mr. President
You'd never take a walk with me
Would you

Now, I have thought about this a lot and, at first, I thought, 'Wow. What a good song. Some really good points there.' And there are. However, there are some real problems as well.

I find it extremely ironic when people, who are supposed to be 'tolerant' and 'non-judgmental', are intolerant and judgmental. Am I the only one who sees that? We 'all' do it. Every single one of us. When you stand up for what you believe is right, you are going to piss some people off. That is just the way it goes. It doesn't matter which side of the 'aisle' your on, we are all judgmental and intolerant people. The sooner we admit that, the better off we all will be. So, the problems I have with the song...

The whole thing is very judgmental. It assumes a lot about the President. It assumes that he does not struggle through every decision that he makes. It assumes that he does not feel that pain of the homeless and impoverished. It assumes that he could not care less; that he is 'living it up' while the 'rest of us' are in such misery. I don't buy it. I know for a fact that when you are in a position of leadership the pressure is tough. The bigger the position, the bigger the pressure. Take the 'small' task of raising a child, for example. Almost every thing you do is with that child in mind. The food, the school, the vacation, the clothes, etc. We who have children make sacrifices daily for our children. We worry about them and struggle over the things we have said or done hoping that they will know that we did the best we could. We aren't perfect, but we try. We lose sleep. We get sick. And we pray. All the while, our children don't see that. They see the end result but not the journey to get there. Now, take that small little lesson and apply it to a nation. I don't see how anyone could honestly think that the President is not bothered by all of the injustice in our country. I don't see how anyone could possible think that the President doesn't agonize over the choices that are made. It's really naive to think that he doesn't.

Pink makes the point to bring up his 'no child left behind' position but then moves to the person in the President's prison cell 'while [he] pays the road to hell'. Wait. What? Wasn't the prison system in place before President Bush went into office? Or is that his fault too? I must have missed that. Sure there are some innocent people in prison. That's a given. But there are more people in prison who need to be there than those who aren't. Are we supposed to tear down all of the prisons and release all the prisoners? That would be criminal. Surely she is not saying that. Perhaps she is just meaning that we aren't reaching those people with the same tools as the average citizen. Again, granted. But how is the President at fault for that? When are we going to bring equality to every one if only certain people have to accept the consequences for their actions? In other words, it's not the President's fault that people are incarcerated. Pink is wanting President Bush to take responsabilty for his choices but the people in prison shouldn't? I'm sorry, but people in prison have limited rights. That is part of the punishment for their crimes. Now, I'm all for prison reform. Things need to change. But to imagine that law-breakers should have the same privileges as law-keepers would be another injustice. I'm not talking about human rights here. I'm talking about privileges.

Then she brings up abortion and homosexuality and insinuates that he is not a good father. I have said this before, I find it extremely ironic that people who are against violence think it perfectly fine for a woman to kill her unborn child. They find nothing wrong with it because it is her 'right'. I had one gentleman tell me that his definition of sin is anything that hurts someone else. But he thought abortion was fine. In fact, he went so far as to say that he thought there should be even more abortions because of over-population. Seriously? Is that were we are? Someone else can kill an unborn child and it's murder but the mother can do it and it's legal?! What century are we living in? We are against the death penalty, war, domestic violence, but we are for killing our unborn children? Does no one else see the absurdity of that position? To me, violence of any kind is wrong. Period.

It bothers me that she says he 'might hate' his daughter if she were gay. It's puzzling to me that people who support 'alternative' lifestyles automatically assume that if you don't then you must 'hate' the homosexual. Now I seriously doubt that President Bush hates homosexuals. But I know a lot of people who literally loathe him. Whenever they see his picture or hear his voice they get so mad they want to do violence to him. It is also ironic that people who are tolerant toward homosexuals are intolerant of those who are not. I had one guy tell me the problem is not with homosexuality but the intolerance of people toward the homosexual. And a lot of people agree. Of course, the other side of that coin is the problem is not with people who are opposed to homosexuality but the intolerance towards people who are opposed to homosexuality. Let me be perfectly clear. I don't hate homosexuals. I hate the sin of homosexuality. And yes, I believe that it is a sin. But it is no different than lying, or stealing, or adultery, or greed. And I hate those sins, too.  'But how can you say it's a sin when people are created that way?' The same way that I can say that I'm a sinner and I was created this way. But God loves us anyway.  And he sent Jesus to rescue us from our sin.  And as Christians, we are supposed to change; to put away our sinful lifestyles.  The liar is to stop lying. The thief is to stop stealing. The adulterer is to stop cheating on his/her spouse. The 'fornicator' is to stop having sex with everyone. The violent person is to stop being violent. And the homosexual is to stop having sex with the same gender.  St Paul was very clear about this:
1Corinthians 6.9-11.  Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.  Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Notice that St Paul wrote that people changed because they became Christians.  We are not to stay in our sinful lifestyles.  We are to change.

And while I think homosexuality is a sin, my biggest problem with it is that it is shoved in my face all the time. It is the identifying thing for some people (it seems like a lot of people). I hear, 'I'm a gay artist' or 'I'm a gay attorney'. You know what? I don't care. Your sexuality is none of my business. So quit making it my business. I want to be known as a person, not my sexuality. I don't greet people with 'I'm a straight person.' I want to be accepted for being a person. My sexuality is none of anyone else's business. What my wife and I do in the sacredness of our own bed is our business.

The last thing about the song that gets me is the line 'You don't know nothing bout hard work'. What? Is she serious? How can she say that? Has she walked in his shoes? Does she have some inside information about his life that we are not privy to? I didn't know that Pink had been the President of the United States.  Hard work is not limited to the working class [which, to me is anyone who works].  Most people who work, work 'hard.'  Sure the President's job is a different type of 'hard work' but it is still hard work.

Now I know that this whole post has been judgmental about the song and to some extent it has been judgmental toward Pink. But that is my point. Like I said at the beginning, we all judge people. We come off 'holier than thou' when we just point out [what we see as] the faults of other and not recognize our own. Like is said above, I'm a sinner. I have faults just like the next person. I have done things I am really ashamed of. Jesus said,
Matthew 7.3-5. [Why] worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

There are several things that I love about this passage.  We are both sinners.  Yet, my sin is a 'log' while my friend's sin is a 'speck'. It means that I have the greater sin. It also means that I am apparently thinking much more highly of myself that I should. I'm worse off than my friend. That means that I'm worse off than Pink or President Bush.

Abide in Peace, and pray for me, a sinner.

+ OD


Ted Gossard said…
OD, I empathize with what you say, and especially the last part. We're all in need of mercy, equally. Though we must in love seek to live out and speak the truth in the Truth, of ocurse.

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