For over 200 years, Inauguration Day has been a symbol of the peaceful transition of power for the United States, the culmination of the democratic elections which has been the foundation of our country since its founding.
A number of Democratic lawmakers are boycotting the inauguration ceremony that will swear in the President-elect because, they say, his election is “not legitimate”. They say that Russian hacking that exposed the release of embarrassing emails from the Clinton campaign influenced the election at the last minute and caused Trump to win (let’s set aside for a moment that if embarrassing and scandalous emails did not exist, it wouldn’t have mattered what was released). The gesture seems small but is significant and raises a couple of concerns. First and foremost, we consider ourselves a country of laws and Donald Trump won the election. And if so, then he will be the President and we can oppose him or his policies but elections say that we live with results. Secondly, by saying someone who holds office isn’t ‘legitimate’ you are arguing against the fundamentals of our system of government, calling into question the system itself. You are….well, you are doing just what you accused Donald Trump of doing during the campaign when he said he wasn’t sure he would accept the results–you are, to quote Hillary Clinton, “…denigrating our democracy.” If you hold public federal office, you need to act better than that.
But wait, Mr. Trump. Don’t quite get up on that high horse and talk about how bad those are who are boycotting the inauguration and calling you illegitimate. They are following your lead. For years, you said that your predecessor shouldn’t be President because he wasn’t born in this country. You railed against President Obama because he didn’t show you a copy of his birth certificate and even offered a reward for a copy. So you can hardly complain when others talk of a President being ‘illegitimate’.
Unfortunately for all of us who love our country’s system of government, you reap what you sow.