By Andrew Yanover
Don’t let lies over crowd size or TV viewership of Donald Trump’s Inauguration distract you from what really took place on January 20th. The peaceful transition of power, the defining hallmark of American democracy, was on full display; even if not a single person showed up to celebrate Donald Trump’s swearing in as the 45th President of the United States, the event would still have been equally as momentous. Ronald Reagan best summed up the special tradition of the Presidential Inauguration in his first Inaugural Address, saying “in the eyes of many in the world, this every 4-year ceremony we accept as normal is nothing less than a miracle.”
The most poignant moment of Donald Trump’s Inauguration was the one which was least covered by the media. Donald Trump was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts with his right hand on the same Bible which bore Abraham Lincoln’s right hand 152 years earlier. The contrasts between the two men are severe; while one bridged the nation back together, the other wants to build a wall. While one freed the slaves, the other wants to deport millions of immigrants and deny others acceptance to the United States based solely on their religion. While Lincoln’s presidency has gone down in American history as arguably the greatest ever, Trump’s legacy is only just beginning.
Despite their differences, the two men have one overarching similarity. Both were democratically elected and continued the key ritual of coming to power in a peaceful manner. The Inauguration of a new president, something which has only happened 45 times in our nation’s history, is a brief, poignant moment to admire American democracy at work, not to bicker over how many people stood there and cheered for you.
In his second Inaugural Address, a month before he was shot in the back of the head, Lincoln stated “with malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds…. to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.” These words should be a guiding force for the Trump Administration, and all citizens of these great United States, over the next four years.
Photo courtesy of Fox News