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A huge opportunity

Published on January 19, 2021

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Well, the day has finally arrived. The inauguration of a new President in the United States will happen tomorrow. Of course, what the day will look like is only known to a handful of people who a) are trying to make sure that it happens and that everyone is safe, or b) will do everything they can to make it a horrible day that will be long remembered in the US.

The former doesn’t want to relive the angst of last week and what it did to the country, the latter wants to destroy an American institution because they were wrongly convinced that an election was stolen from them. I dispute that belief because I believe that in the more than two months since the Presidential election was held, the lack of proof provided by those who say the election was a fraud, actually proved that it wasn’t. The courts agreed, the Attorney General agreed, and even the Republican officials who oversaw the most contested contests of the election agreed, that it was a fair and honest contest.

I’ll leave it at that and say that I hope that right overcomes wrong, and that the peaceful transfer of power does happen, as all but a few Americans think it should. Regardless of party, most Americans will tell you that they want a peaceful inauguration. Most Americans have simply had enough of it all.

I hope it goes off smoothly, but having attended an inauguration, I can say that this will be nothing like I, nor most Americans, remember. It will be militarized, shut-off from the public, and watered down to something that we will be hard pressed to recognize.

All because of a very small portion of the US population who decided that they had rights that superseded everyone else’s. A very, very small minority of the country have put a stain on history for all Americans to remember.

What a sad state of affairs.

Every person elected to be President of the United States deserves an inauguration with all the pomp and circumstances that the event merits. So do the people. I say that because seeing a real, peaceful transfer of power, is by far one of the most inspirational things I have ever been lucky enough to be witness to.

That won’t happen this year and that is really, perhaps, one of the most telling things about the danger that US democracy faces. The peaceful transfer of power has meant that ALL Americans could rest assured that no matter who entered the office, things would still be okay four years later.

In our lifetimes, it has never meant anything else.

Going forward, there will not be any guarantee of that. The precedent set by this inauguration may be one that Americans cannot escape. The idea of watching the city of Washington DC enshroud itself in fences and barbed wire, with military checkpoints, and armed patrols, infuriates me. It’s not what that city means to me or to many Americans.

But there is a chance for this stain to be washed away. It will require a herculean task of the new President and his administration. They will need to find a way to unify the country.

All while trying to bring a world pandemic to its knees, in a country that is being hit the hardest by it. They’ll also be trying to return a strong economy to a country that is pivotal to a world recovery.

That also means that Americans have to give the next President the chance to try to fix things. There is no other option going forward. Any other route will only lead to chaos and destruction, not just in America, but across the globe.

Americans have to stand up and accept their responsibility in the world again. They have to realize that the entire world does look up to (at least did until last week) America’s version of Democracy, either as a beacon of hope or as a warning to behave. The America I grew up in was so much more than a playing field for childish politicians. It was so much more than the realm of charlatans and con artists.

It was, and can be again, a place of hope and fairness. For ALL of its citizens, not just its whites. Or elites. Or politicians. Or racists.

It cannot give up its possibility to be great, to a handful of extremists who want to take control because of some lunatic named Q, or because of the color of their skin, or because a carnival huckster convinced them that they had somehow been robbed of something.

My hope is that Wednesday comes and goes without much ado about nothing. The abridged inauguration happens, everything is peaceful with minimal protest and disturbance. That the only thing it will be remembered for in the future is an inspiring speech from a man who has enormous problems to wrangle.

And perhaps, as the point where America started over with a look toward a non-partisan congress and electorate, and equal rights for all its citizens, and a willingness to look toward other peoples from other nations, as simply that, people.

From this point, there is a huge opportunity to get better.

I just hope America can shake off its anger and realize it.

1 Comment

  1. Thanks Michael. I am hopeful the inauguration will bring hope. So far so good. The ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial, the letters children wrote to Kamala Harris, ….. We are binge watching tomorrow and plan to be thrilled. : )


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