Today I’m sitting in a tap house in West Springfield Massachusetts while my wife is attending a state teachers’ meeting at the local library. She doesn’t like driving in the heavy traffic that is common to the cities where they meet so I make sure I set aside the day to chauffeur her to wherever she needs to go. Like the famous movie, I call it “Driving Miss Cynthia.” As I sit here enjoying a Scottish Ale among the warmth of the dark wood and the crowd of New Englanders who have sought refuge in here, my mind is drawn to the history that is happening, or rather is about to happen four hundred miles away in Washington, D.C. You see today is January 19, 2017 and tomorrow the United States will inaugurate a new President, the miracle of the peaceful transfer of power from one political party to another. Most Americans take this peaceful transfer for granted because our eyes are ever on ourselves like a teenager inspecting themselves in every mirror they pass by. Outside of our myopic space is a world where the transfer of power does not always occur peacefully and in too many places in the world it seldom occurs peacefully. We are spoiled and I am thankful that we are in this regard. I thank God that I have been born into a country where transferring governmental power peacefully is so assured that we don’t even give it a second thought.
If you haven’t read any of my other blog posts you are unaware that I am not a supporter of Donald J. Trump. “Not a supporter” might be a bit of an understatement. Though I have tried hard to, I just can’t imagine him sitting behind the President’s desk in the oval office. If you find it easy to imagine him there then maybe you don’t know much about the man. Unlike his haters I fully acknowledge his business acumen. All of the “failed businessman” accusations during the campaign were nothing but the worst of political smear conjured up for people who are willing to believe anything negative about the opposition with no regard for truth. Truth is something that I highly value so I have no issue with him in this area. Donald Trump is most certainly a world class businessman and any notion to the contrary is purely blind partisanship. My issue is with his personal behavior. To me, he strikes me as a very bored billionaire who walked into the reality TV industry because he wanted something that his money couldn’t buy, popular fame. Having been very successful in that realm he then turned his eye to a much bigger prize, the white hot spotlight of the presidency of the United States. I guess I just don’t trust that he wants to be president for the right reasons but to be fair, does anyone? We are talking about a head trip of other-worldly proportions. Winning the presidency is as close to pop culture immortality as you can get in the United States and Donald J. Trump has now achieved that.
There are some 60 million voters who, like me, did not vote for Trump and are not too thrilled about the prospects of a Trump presidency. Some of them are so unhappy that they are planning on traveling to Washington D.C. to protest the inauguration and I have a problem with that. In addition to the protesters, there are about 60 elected representatives, all of them Democrats, who will not attend the ceremony. That’s about one third of the entire Democrat population in the House of Representatives who are refusing to attend. I have a problem with that because I have an understanding of what the inauguration is supposed to be. When we inaugurate a new president EVERYONE comes together NOT to celebrate the new president but to celebrate our democracy and the peaceful transfer of power. It’s not about the new President, it’s about the USA. In a sense, it is a big time-out from our political battles, the game is over and we all meet in the middle of the metaphorical field to shake hands, hug our buddies on the other side and enjoy a brief moment of unity before we go back to the battle the following day. To me, what these protesters are doing is refusing to shake hands with their opponents, refusing to be honorable and they are not only hurting our democracy but they are harming the Democratic Party by being incredibly poor sports. America sees this for what it is and the Democrats will certainly pay a price in the elections in two years because the Republicans won’t let anyone forget.
We need a strong opposition party and right now the Democratic Party is imploding. If you have been living in a bubble then you are unaware that over the past 8 years the Dems have lost some 1200 elected seats nationwide. They currently control only four states out of fifty. The party is in a free fall everywhere except New York, California, and Massachusetts which is how Clinton was able to win the popular vote. If you have seen a county by county results map then you are aware that they have basically become a coastal and/or urban party and that is not good for our country. Even worse, the house Dems just re-elected Nancy Pelosi to lead them again because, you know, when you are failing badly you should just keep doing whatever you have already been doing. (chuckle) What isn’t funny is that without a viable opposition party the Republicans will suck up every drop of power and you know what happens then? Great unopposed power breeds corruption no matter how good the intentions are at the outset. We need a one party country about as much as we need a hole in the head and even if you are a Republican hopefully you are wise enough to realize that. We need the Democratic Party to divorce themselves from the societal elites and rebuild its trust with the American blue collar workers, re-establishing themselves as the party of the working class rather than the party of celebrities and aggrieved special interest groups that they champion like favorite pets, and throwing a hissy fit over the inauguration is not how to get that done.
I am sure that some of you that are reading this are cackling in your hearts about first amendment rights and that it is wrong for me to disparage protest. Well, here’s a thought that I want you to honestly consider, “Just because you have a right to do something doesn’t mean that it is the right thing to do.” If you enter my house without my invite in Massachusetts and if I feel that my life is in danger I have the right to shoot you dead. What if you are drunk and disoriented and you enter my house in the middle of the night thinking that it is your buddy’s house? I still have a right to shoot you, but is it really right for me to take your life just because you made a stupid mistake at 3 a.m. in the morning? Every right needs to be exercised with judiciousness. Any moron can babble on about their rights. It’s takes wisdom to exercise them in such a way that it produces something positive and beneficial in our country. In the case of the inauguration, if there was ever an event that shouldn’t be protested or boycotted that would be it. I choose to believe that those who are boycotting or protesting are doing so out of ignorance and not because they want to assault our democracy and degrade confidence in it EVEN THOUGH that is exactly what they are doing. I choose to believe that they have the best of intentions but are just lacking in judgment or understanding of the true meaning of inauguration day. If you know any of these people, please educate them concerning the truth because some of the most harmful things that are done are done with the best of intentions. Do they have a right to protest? Absolutely! But sometimes right is wrong.
A friend of mine dubbed me “The voice of reason in a very unreasonable world” which I am flattered by because I am less than that. Having said that, if you enjoyed my writing I invite you to scroll to the very bottom of this page where there is a button labeled “Follow”. If you press that button you will receive a notification whenever this blog is updated with new posts. Thank you for reading.