In about an hour we will have a new president as Donald J Trump is sworn in as the 45th President of our nation. The most amazing aspect of this day is the peaceful transition of power from one man to another. For hundreds of years Presidents have gracefully vacated the office, making the way for a new leader. No riots, no fighting, no hatred or anger, no resistance to leaving when their time is finished; choosing instead to exit gracefully, expressing support for the new leader as they return to being a regular American citizen.
Having grown up in this nation, I believe many of us do not understand the significance of peaceful transition. We have not experienced violence and death in conjunction with transitions of power. We have not lived in actual fear for our lives that support of a particular leader could result in our death or expulsion from our home. We do not grasp the beauty of opposing party members standing side by side on the platform, shaking hands and choosing to lay aside differences for the sake of what is best for the nation.
Our leaders and former leaders are setting a beautiful example today of respecting the process of democracy. President Obama has called for Americans to support the process, to give our new President a chance to lead, refusing to allow his personal views and preferences to hinder this transition. He of all people wanted a different result in this election, even expected a different result. Yet so many people who say they are “tolerant” are choosing hatred and anger today over peace.
May we remember. Remember that we have the privilege of living in a place where power passes peacefully. Today is a day to celebrate, regardless of your views. Not because you agree with everything (or anything) about the new leader, but because for the 45th time in the history of our country the democratic process that began with George Washington is being honored and followed.
As I watch senators and former presidents from opposite sides of the aisle greeting each other with smiles, kisses, handshakes and laughter, I am thankful to have been born in this country. Today, let’s celebrate our great nation!