“We’ve been around 240 years. We’ve had free and fair elections and we’ve accepted the outcomes when we may not have liked them and that is what must be expected…” -Hillary Clinton, October 2016, Presidential Debate
This Inauguration Day is one of a kind, for more reason than one. A man with no political experience and a knack for firing off his mouth (and his Twitter) has made his way to the Presidential office. And because this man won the White House, despite all that the media predicted and told us about him, there will be numerous protesters at the inauguration this year. Although protesters are not exclusive to Mr. Trump’s pending presidency, it is expected that they will be much more prevalent this Friday than they have been since Nixon’s inauguration.
Although pointless and childish (I mean really, boycotting our democracy’s tradition of peaceful transition of power?), American citizens absolutely have the cherished right to protest our government. So march on, I say. However, this year’s “boycott” by 56 Democratic Congressman refusing to accept the inauguration of Mr. Trump shows a pure and utter lack of respect for our government and its processes. Regardless of what their own presidential candidate said just a few months ago, these Democrats are flatly refusing to accept the outcome of our free and fair election. This boycott epitomizes the problem of Washington D.C.: if you don’t agree with someone, undermine them. Don’t talk to them, don’t interact with them, and do everything in your power to delegitimize them and their positions. Dig in your heels and refuse to meet in the middle. And how has that worked out for the American people so far?
Well, if you haven’t noticed, our nation is more divided than ever on almost every single issue and nothing is getting done. No real progress has been made regarding the economy, immigration policy, policing issues, or foreign policy, and these topics are more contentious than ever. Inauguration Day used to be a day when all Americans, particularly our representatives in the nation’s Capitol, would put aside their differences and come together in a celebration of our democratic traditions and values. But no more. 2016 was the year when public shaming of political and ideological opponents became both accepted and expected, and this attitude has bled into January 20, 2017. Even the National Education Association is encouraging students and teachers to play hooky to boycott Trump’s electoral victory. Let that sink in. Instead of teaching our students to honor our election process (and the results), the NEA and our own legislative representatives, among others, are teaching our children to cry and complain when things don’t go their way. Conversation and compromise are now overrated. 2017 is not boding well for the United States, and it has very little to do with the orange-tinted, loose-lipped man being sworn in as the 45th President.