Two-hundred-forty years ago our Founding Fathers gathered in Philadelphia to start a new country. They wanted to form a democracy. They gathered again eleven years later to write a constitution that would provide an effective government and perpetuate their democratic ideals. Some feared that the President was too powerful but the thought of George Washington taking the office was reassuring. Once a sufficient number of states approved the Constitution, Washington was inaugurated.
He retired after two terms. In an age of kings and despots, voluntarily giving up power was highly unusual. Four years later we had perhaps the bitterest election in our history. John Adams quietly left the White House and headed home. Since then there have been forty-two transfers of power. Some, like Ronald Reagan, saw their heir apparent inaugurated. Others, like Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush, watched their election opponent assume office. All of these transfers have taken place without armed uprising or civil war. The Constitution works!
Yesterday we saw two men who are political opposites act in a calm and dignified manner. They had tea, stood near each other during the ceremony and shook hands afterwards. Sadly, a number of Democrats in Congress refused to attend. The inauguration was not about paying respect to Donald Trump; it was about paying respect to our democracy. Keeping it strong is far more important than who sits in the Oval Office.