Common sense thoughts on life and current affairs by a Seattle area sexagenarian, drawing on personal experience, years of learning as a counselor to thousands of families and an innate passion for informed knowledge, to uniquely express sensible, thoughtful, honest and independent views.
Presidential inaugurations according to the US Constitution are pretty simple: just a 35 word oath of office and then the peaceful transfer of power is complete. But through the years lots of trappings have been added, what some might call bells and whistles. Trump is the most unpopular incomer since polls have been taken, so there will be lots of counter demonstrations also.
Through the years the extended inaugural ordeal has been too tedious to hold my attention. I do remember the JFK line "ask not what your country can do for you", I remember Carter walking for part of the parade and I did watch central parts of the first Obama inaugural because it was so encouragingly historically significant, but mostly I have no profound memories of these events.
My not watching today is particularly intentional due to what I consider the disgracing of the Presidency by the election of Trump, an utterly unqualified man, born with a silver spoon who has lived his entire life as a selfish boor, conducted a repulsive campaign and who seems to have no understanding or appreciation of our form of government. This is especially reprehensible since he is taking over from a man of color born and raised in humble circumstances who has devoted his life to public service, who fully understands and reveres the Constitution and has graced the Office of the President with great dignity.
I have been thinking about how Presidents achieved the office during my lifetime. Here is a somewhat flippant but still fairly accurate list of who or what brought them to power:
TRUMAN – FDR did not survive his fourth term and the Democrat power elite had limited options for VP;
IKE – WWII – he could have won running as a Republican, Democrat or independent;
KENNEDY – some say Mayor Daley of Chicago stuffing the ballot boxes, or the lousy makeup job Nixon got for the TV debate;
LBJ – an assassin's bullet;
NIXON – secret plan to win the Vietnam War – which if there ever was one must have been to expand it and then quit it;
FORD – Watergate (and I do not believe there was a deal to pardon Nixon);
CARTER – Watergate, the Nixon pardon and smart campaigning to get a delegate jump;
REAGAN – Iranian hostage takers, hokey Hollywood hooey and anti-government baloney;
BUSH I – Willie Horton;
CLINTON – "Read my lips" and Ross Perot;
BUSH II – Ralph Nader, the archaic Electoral College, Congressional Republican staffers pretending to be irate Florida voters, and five unelected Justices of SCOTUS;
OBAMA – The Audacity of Hope, overdue change and a truly fresh breath of air;
DRUMPF – an unbelievably stupid electorate, the FBI, Putin, fake news, "reality" TV, xenophobia, the lack of another fresh young Democrat and that same archaic Electoral College.
I cannot stop myself from engaging in "what if" history, so here are some contenders from my lifetime who came in second and were never inaugurated:
There are four "losers" who were nevertheless inaugurated at some point in time:
NIXON who lost to Kennedy later beat Humphrey and McGovern;
FORD who had been appointed and lost to Carter;
CARTER who was defeated for re-election;
BUSH I who was also defeated for re-election..