Inauguration inspires despite protest

Matt Smith

Every four years, Jan. 20 is a special day for all who hold our democratic process dear. In an often underappreciated ritual, the current administration hands off power to the duly elected incoming administration before thousands of spectators. Lined up from the capitol steps all the way to the Washington Monument, thousands descend on Washington D.C. from across the country, prepared to see the peaceful transition of power in real time.

D.C. was buzzing on Inauguration Day. The ascension of Donald Trump to the presidency sent shock waves around the world, with many alarmed by the bombastic billionaire’s unexpected rise. This includes much of the city of Washington D.C., an overwhelmingly democratic area that voted against President Trump en masse. You could easily tell how D.C residents felt about the election by observing them on the streets, in restaurants and in other public places. However, thousands of Trump supporters packed the National Mall, making their presence known.

Seeing him with his many detractors, including every living President and his vanquished rival, was a unique sight that could only be seen in America. The flawless transition between administrations, even when the outgoing one bitterly opposed the candidacy of the incoming one, is part of what makes our system great. Watching President Obama and Vice-President Biden hand off the baton to President Trump and Vice-President Pence attested to the quiet civility of American politics, even amid the partisan rancor.

However, the post-inauguration scene around D.C. was not nearly as peaceful. Protestors and rioters took to the streets, expressing their discontent with President Trump. Protesters clashed with the police, smashed windows and set fires, leading to nearly 200 arrests. I couldn’t help but be disappointed with these protests, which disrupted the city on a day that should have been a celebration of American democracy.

The proper way to express discontent with political affairs is through the ballot box, or if you come up short there, through peaceful protest. This is what occurred on Saturday, where marches were lead by women from across the country. While the goals of these marches were slightly unclear to me, their peaceful nature reflected well on the organizers and participants.

The 2017 Inauguration was an event that all who were fortunate enough to attend will never forget. For better or worse, President Trump laid out an agenda to dramatically transform the way Washington does business. All should wish him good fortune, and hope for a successful presidency.

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