Fasten your seat belts!
A week or so back during the Golden Globe Awards actress Meryl Streep, while accepting one of those lifetime achievement things, took the opportunity of having millions of TV viewers looking at her, and gave a profound dissertation on the impending futility and frustration in having President-elect Trump assuming office. During her impassioned plea for redemption the cameras panned the audience.
Now, it’s not unusual for actors accepting awards in any of the Hollywood award venues in years past to take advantage of the bully pulpit of the moment to laud their current charity or political agenda in lieu of “thanking the academy”. Personally I think those “outside” things have little place in award acceptance speeches. But as the camera panned the audience at the Golden Globes as Streep was speaking one could see in their faces.. hanging on to each word as if they were hanging on desperately to a precipice; a combined look of hopelessness and consternation. Then I thought of my own helplessness and that of the 60+% of the population not favoring the new guy taking office.
But I thought of something I had almost forgotten in all the hubbub of election static and Trump’s naïve tweets.
There is hope. It requires you to have faith; faith in that parchment President Obama alluded to in his “goodbye” speech in Chicago. Rather more to the point, having faith in the words on that parchment. So far those words, and those added since, have gotten us Americans this far… one of the longest lasting forms of government still in business.
You see, the Founding Fathers made no guarantees that everything written on that parchment would provide us Americans with a perfect guidebook to success. That part was always up to subsequent generations of Americans. There was never a guarantee on who our elected leaders should be, just the rules for how they were to be elected… with the unique slant that those rules allow for ANY American to have an opportunity, rich or poor. Up until now, nearly 250 years later, we’ve been fortunate that most presidents who were elected have served reasonably well and upheld the traditions of the office that most Americans have grown to expect, whether they politically agreed or not.
Now we are at a point in our history where a quirk in our election process has allowed a rich maverick to be president at the rare occurrence where the popular opinion of the country is not in favor of him. On top of that, this fellow has NO political acumen, experience in elected office, morality, or the traditional demeanor of a U.S. president. Most of all he can’t control what he says and offends everyone in some form or another. But.. he won according to the rules… and strangely we can be proud of that as Americans. We can embrace that.
But here’s the most important thing. Our Constitution is greater than any president; the office of the presidency, as defined in the Constitution, is greater than the man (or woman) holding that office. The faith we should have is in the words. Our president serves at the pleasure of the people. If his (or her) performance is substandard he/she can be removed… peacefully.
The Constitution is a pretty amazing collection of words on that parchment. We’ve kept it alive because it represents who we are as Americans. It was never meant to make us perfect or provide perfection in our elected officials. Have faith in what it says, because inside holds the key to making course corrections along the way.
So, tomorrow, go ahead and watch the inauguration and witness it for what it is.. the result of our Constitution’s peaceful transition of power. Think of it as the rainbow that spreads across the skies following a storm; representing hope… and a promise. The inauguration is not about the man; it’s about the document and the spirit that put that man there. The moment he accepts the public trust that’s the moment he becomes our employee. Forget the party play afterwards if you want. In the end it really matters not who is running the show because he/she serves at the will of the people… BY the will of the people. If he fails in his responsibility we are the one’s who can say to him…