At inaugurations we as Americans are reminded that the strength of our freedom is the demonstrated peaceful transition of government to the new administration. Now, one can draw a number of meanings from that. Of course it’s the time us Americans can thump our chests to the rest of the world by showing off our (allegedly) unified support for our new leader. But when you listen to politicians speak of “a peaceful transition” there seems to be more than one meaning.
For me, at first blush, the chest thumping on Inauguration Day implies that our peaceful transition of power suggests that no power struggle, no military coup, no force of arms, is required to oust the current administration; no forced eviction of the White House. We Americans believe in our Constitution and we acknowledge the laws set forth therein that selects our leaders.
Ok. That makes sense. But then there was all the talk from the press and the President himself before, during, and after his meeting with the President-elect, that the goal was for a peaceful transition and the talks at their first meeting of 90 minutes did just that. Well, wait a sec… they were meeting to discuss a transition into the White House of staffers, housekeeping logistics, and most assuredly the outgoing President sharing some practical wit and wisdom, political thoughts, and where that book of secrets is located. Of course, a basic state-of-the-union-not-for-publication was probably in there too. So I am wondering, in what form would a “bad transition” take place here? I mean, the two guys have met… it certainly wasn’t an issue of force of arms to have this meeting. No one was kidnapped into showing up against his will. In fact… the only “bad” transition I’ve heard of in this same situation was Truman and Eisenhower when Ike was President-elect.
When Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower arrived at the White House to pick up the President for the ride to the Capitol [for the inauguration], they not only refused to enter for a cup of coffee with the Trumans, but stayed in the vehicle until Truman came outside. CBS correspondent Eric Sevareid, who observed the incident, wrote, “It was a shocking moment.” Head usher J. B. West put it this way: “I was glad I wasn’t in that car.”
Those events certainly didn’t bring down the pillars of political stability nor cast international disdain on American democracy.
Now some of the press talking heads and some politicos are suggesting that us divisive Americans set aside our differences and support the president-elect.. and his administration selectees… in order to help assure a peaceful transition. Huh? Exactly what transition is being referred to here that my right to disagree will have some impact on?
Ohhh.. wait.. are “they” talking about politically peaceful transitions? Would “they” be trying to tap into my patriotic mind and convince me I should have a measure of patriotic guilt if I dare think that the President-elect is the most not-qualified-to-be-president-in-my-lifetime? Would “they” be trying to suggest that I believe that he will be a president for ALL Americans given his bombastic and reckless verbal diatribes during the campaign that suggested otherwise? Maybe it’s the “they” people who are burying their heads in the sand.
I believe in the Constitution and from that I believe Trump won fair and square… if the electors hold up their part on December 19. It’s extraordinarily unlikely that the electors will change their votes… and if they do there might be some doubt that Hillary would even accept a changed outcome in her favor. But this has been an extraordinary election.. anything can happen.
Yes, I’m a proud American that feels good at inaugurations because our form of government gets to shine a bit; we can transition without the point of a gun. But don’t try and sell me crap about some extended definition of a peaceful transition being important in order to shut me up.