As I watched the Inauguration of Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States, I had several thoughts. This is an American ceremony that symbolizes the peaceful transfer of power. Juxtaposed against that was the inauguration of a new President in Gambia where the outgoing President refused to leave office and the new President had to be sworn in in Senegal and right after that Senegal invaded Gambia. The American public should greatly appreciate how we do things in this country and the protesters in Washington have no real sense of the freedoms they enjoy.
Now to my thoughts.
Watching every living President, with the exception of George H.W. Bush, who is hospitalized in Houston, on the platform was a testament to the American political system and the ideal that we project to the rest of the world. President Bush, from his hospital bed, wrote to President Trump that he would be available to him for any counsel and was unable to attend due to his illness and would be “six feet under” if he tried to attend. To see Democrats and Republicans alike stand together to witness the swearing in of a new President demonstrated American values. It was heartening to see Hillary Clinton standing there beside her husband, President Bill Clinton. How difficult that must have been for her.
As I watched President Obama and Vice President Biden walking together I could not help but think that Biden may have missed his opportunity to become President. In Hillary Clinton the Democrats nominated someone that had high negatives and was viewed by many as an elitist. Biden would have, in my opinion, kept many of the blue collar Democrats that abandoned the party to move towards Donald Trump.
It was heartening to hear Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), who is as political as they come, taking Democrats to task for skipping the Inauguration. He made the point that he had been critical of people disrespecting the incumbent President for the past eight years and while he was not supportive of the winner of the election he would respect the office of the President and be in attendance. That is an adult response and not the juvenile response by those that tried to make a political statement by skipping this American ceremony.
Donald Trump gave what I would call a perfunctory Inaugural speech. He hit all the themes of his campaign and promised to return power to the American people. I thought his speech was a bit xenophobic and could have been toned down just a bit while making the same salient points. There were a few highlights that stood out to me:
“At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families and good jobs for themselves.”
This was the basic theme of the speech, that the power of government would be returned to the people of the country and no longer be the sole province of those in Washington.
“Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation.”
“An education system flush with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge.”
“And the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”
This appeared to be another campaign promise to remember the people in the cities. I think this is probably the single most important thing Trump can do politically. If he can hold together his coalition of blue collar workers and add to it with minority voters in urban areas he will be the favorite to win reelection.
“We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.”
On foreign policy this was the most memorable moment in the speech. It reinforces his previous comments about nation building. American has long been that beacon on the hill and if we allow our example to shine I too believe others will follow. I have often said that if you walked into an anti-American demonstration in the middle of Tehran and announced you had 100 visas to the United States, no questions asked, they would be gone in 5 seconds. I think Donald Trump understands this phenomenon and believes you do not have to apologize for being an American or for actions by the United States. People still want to be us.
“And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty Creator.”
“So to all Americans, in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, and from ocean to ocean, hear these words:
“You will never be ignored again.
This was the finale and it brought the main theme back together that we are all one people and I will be the President for all of the people. Again, it was not John F. Kennedy or Ronald Reagan but it was a good speech and was consistent with what he has been saying for the past 18 months. Missing from the speech was specifics on what his agenda will bee. It was a broad brush on changing policy. No mention of health care, no mention of immigration reform or the wall and no mention of tax reform. These will be the biggest issues early in his Presidency and he will have to work with Congress to enact the changes that he desires.
One small thing that I noticed was the Park Service covered the mall with a white tarp. In the past some of the inaugurations have become mud holes and with the rain today in Washington you can be sure it would have quickly become impassable.
There will be the inevitable comparisons of how many people attended this inauguration and how many showed up for Obama’s inauguration. There were more in 2009. It was much more historical and I can certainly understand why more people would have attended. Electing the first black President was a moment in American history. The next black President will not have that same moment. Also, protesters were attempting to block entrances to the mall and police had to redirect them to other entrances. That is kind of sad. See the Washington Post article about this:
I thought the best comments in the article were protesters shouting “This is what democracy looks like” and a Trump supporter replying as he pointed to the other side of the fence “this is what democracy looks like but I can’t get in because of you.”
If conservatives had showed up in 2009 and tried to block entrances to the inauguration they would have been called racists by the left. But the left never sees the hypocrisy of their actions.
In summary it was the Inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States. You may not agree with him, you may not have supported him, but he is your President just as Barrack Obama was my President for the past eight years because I am an American first and a conservative second