At noon on Friday, Donald Trump will raise his hand and like 43 men before him (yes, they’ve all been men) promise to uphold the Constitution as president of the United States.
Some people will cheer. Some will protest. Some, like Congressman John Yarmuth, D-Louisville, and almost 70 of his Democratic colleagues will boycott.
And they all will be carrying on traditions that have kept this country great for 240 years.
In a nation that enshrines dissent as an inviolable right, this will be the 44th peaceful transfer of presidential power (one more than we’ve had presidents, because Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms).
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Pause for a moment to appreciate that history, no matter how you feel about the new president or his detractors.
Trump may have lost the popular vote by 2 percentage points or 2.9 million votes, but this country has overcome deeper divisions. Abraham Lincoln took the oath on the eve of a civil war. Franklin D. Roosevelt became president in the depths of a global economic crisis that fueled the rise of fascism and communism.
The institutions and laws that govern this nation have usually, eventually served us well. Another peaceful transfer of power is an opportunity to join the president in affirming our commitment to “preserve, protect and defend” the ideals on which peace and freedom are built.