Rep. John Lewis — good on you for calling out the President-elect’s fishy results (especially since Trump fostered all that birther nonsense about Obama). Enjoy the day off. Same with the other members of Congress who won’t be attending.
But remember: the inauguration isn’t a coronation, it’s a ceremonial transfer of power that should be witnessed.
I think of it like the State of the Union; attendance isn’t mandatory but is kind of expected. Frankly, as far as this inauguration goes, I’d be happier seeing Lewis and the other disgruntled members of Congress sitting stoically at the inauguration with arms crossed, gazing with disapproval upon the proceedings; that would have a much bigger media punch than not being there at all (after all, those empty seats will promptly be filled by others). Furthermore, this growing boycott puts other Congressional members in a corner: if they do attend, does that mean they don’t support John Lewis? This could become very silly.
Let’s not confuse attendance at the Inauguration with support or enthusiasm about the President-elect.
Maybe many like Rep. Lewis are unhappy with the results of the election, as I am, but not attending won’t change the outcome. Trump lost the popular election but won the electoral college, and that’s what counts. To be sure, it was a messy, nauseating, ugly campaign — and Trump’s performance since winning has done little to inspire confidence. But the electoral outcome seems to pass the sniff test of authenticity, if just barely. Maybe Russia’s hacking contributed to that outcome — that’s another very serious topic, but not one that will be sorted out by January 20.
The ceremony is also a tacit Exit Ceremony to the current Commander In Chief.
I anticipate that one of the biggest crowd responses this Friday will be when the Obama family steps onto the platform. In contrast, it will be interesting to see the response when the President-elect and his entourage make their appearance. His campaign gets to award the best seats to his supporters, and thousands of Trumpists will be in attendance, so there will no doubt be a YUGE show of enthusiasm for Mr. Trump. But it would warm my heart greatly to see an outpouring of affection for our wonderful and inspirational outgoing President, the First Lady, and their daughters (as well as the Bidens).
On Friday Donald Trump is constitutionally required to take the Presidential oath, which should sound like this:
I, Donald John Trump, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Read those words a few times; let them roll around in your mouth and in your mind. I’m no Constitutional scholar, but a little research reveals that those words were chosen with great care and deliberation by our Founders. While lots of government officials are required to take an oath, only the President’s oath is explicitly scripted in the Constitution.
Trump has to repeat those exact words. Not “I’ll make great deals,” not “I’m going to keep you in suspense,” not “I’ll let you know when the audit is complete,” not “I have a beautiful, beautiful plan.“
And maybe, MAYBE, the actual words of the Oath will resonate in Mr. Trump’s heart.
After Trump has uttered those words, Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts will likely say “Congratulations, Mr. President.”
And there it will be — Obama becomes a private citizen, “Hail To The Chief” will be played, cannons will blast, President Trump will talk, they’ll go to lunch, and that will be that. A parade will follow and later in the evening we’ll see Trump’s balls.
Millions will witness Trump’s oath, and it will be on the record. At some point in the future, We The People may have to remind President Trump of his oath, and he will not be able to deny that he spoke those words. If he should stray from that oath, he can’t blame Hillary, the lying media, Meryl Streep, or the establishment swamp. He will have promised, right there in front of everyone.
Expect “Where’s Waldo” from the media on Friday.
The promised boycott has stirred up the media, though, and that’s not a bad thing. Given the announced boycotts, I bet the networks will be falling all over themselves trying to figure out who’s missing from the festivities.
My advice to Congress and other big-name celebrities: don’t plan on skipping this one and getting out of town for a three-day weekend; you’ll be conspicuous by your absence. And you know DJT’s minions will be keeping a list.
The moment I’ll wait for on Friday, with mixed emotions, is when the Obamas wave goodbye and board the helicopter. For me, and I know for millions of others, that will be the defining image on January 20. God let it happen peacefully.