And so yesterday, we, as a nation, held our 57th Presidential inauguration. Sure, there are many that say “it’s a second term, why spend the money”, and of course those that are angry because their guy didn’t win, and whatnot, but at the end of the day, our nation does something truly, completely unique that is not repeated anywhere else in the world. In a peaceful, orderly process, we either transfer power from one leader to another, or reconfirm that power on a reelected leader, and we do with clockwork regularity.
Think about how unique this is. It doesn’t exist anywhere else. Most other “free countries” with representative government leaders elected by the people, power transfers occur without schedule. In Great Britain for example, it is a parliamentary system – and the Prime Minister is an elected Member of Parliament. If a coalition of opposition can form (being it is a multi-party system), they can force a “vote of no confidence” in the Prime Minister, and elections are held to elect a “new” Parliament. Conversely, the Prime Minister can also call elections of Parliament – and again, he/she stands for reelection at the same time. There is no pomp and pageantry with installing the new MPs and PM, they just get sworn in and go about their business. They save the pomp for the Queen. This is similar to other constitutional monarchies elsewhere in the world.
Of course, then there’s military governments, puppet governments, etc. etc. – all pretending to be “free election” countries but none of them are. And none of them have any semblance of a clean and orderly transfer of power.
But here in America, we are the shining example of true democracy. Every four years, we hold a Presidential election and the people vote. That vote drives how the Electoral College votes on a state-by-state basis (because, as many Republicans will loudly protest, we are not a democracy, but a Republic), which then drives who we elect as President. And except for a vocal few (Donald Trump?? What. An. Idiot.), those results are respected and accepted. One candidate concedes graciously, the winner accepts humbly, and the transfer begins.
No matter which party you are, inauguration day is a celebration of who we are as Americans, with the greatest, most representative, most democratic, most “voice of the people” political process in the world. And that day in Washington (and someday I’m going to attend one) is truly a celebration of that democracy. It was so moving to see those high camera shots looking down at nearly a million people on the Mall in Washington celebrating America. The Inaugural parade, the Inaugural balls and more. Wonderful, American pageantry. Did we spend $170 million on the party as a country? Yup. Should we? Absolutely.
Again, whether you’re happy about the outcome of the election process or not, (and your turn will come again if you’re not), inauguration day is our day, as Americans, to celebrate the voice we have in our political process. It truly is reflecting of the outcome of the will of the people.
As you were,