Thursday, January 5, 2017

Inauguraton is not the place for protest

Protesters are vowing to conduct a series of demonstrations to disrupt the inauguration of Donald Trump on Jan. 20. I wish they would reconsider.

A presidential inauguration does not signify that all Americans are of one accord or that the disagreements of the election campaign is over. It merely means that the United States is transferring executive power from one elected president to the next elected president. Trump opponents will complain that a majority of Americans did not vote for Trump. True enough, but hardly unprecedented. Presidents elected in 2000, 1992, 1960, 1912 and 1876 were all "minority" presidents. What made them president was not the final tally of every single vote but the national consensus that they had achieved the required majority of electoral votes (or in the 1876 election, a majority of the U.S. House's vote).

John F. Kennedy's 1960 inaugural address (considered by many the greatest inaugural address ever) began, "We observe today not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom, symbolizing an end as well as a beginning, signifying renewal as well as change. ..."

Those who seek to disrupt an inauguration are not disrupting the newly elected president, who probably will see nothing of the protesters. They are disrupting the peaceful transfer of power, the "celebration of freedom," the "renewal as well as change" that characterizes American democracy.

So make your plans to oppose Trump appointees, block Trump policy changes, stymie Trump initiatives and prevail in the 2018 and 2020 elections, but let this transfer of executive power take place peacefully and deliberately. This "celebration of freedom" is not the time or the place to object to political change.

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