Featured Resource: A Trip Back in Time: It Wouldn’t Be Inauguration Day Without Protestors (NPR)
More than 200,000 demonstrators are expected in Washington, D.C. during inauguration week. This NPR report offers a historical perspective of the tradition of protest on inauguration day.
Can protest and dissent be a part of a peaceful transition? Why or why not? #DoNowInauguration
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The presidential inauguration, a ceremony marking the transition from one administration to another, is an occasion steeped in tradition. From a customary morning prayer, to musical performances and the singing of the national anthem, the event celebrates the incoming president and provides an opportunity to set the tone of their term in office through the inaugural address. At the January 20 ceremony, President Donald Trump took the oath of office and was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.
With a 44 percent approval rating, President Trump assumed the role with the lowest approval rating for an incoming president in the past 40 years. In his inaugural address to a cheering crowd of supporters, however, Trump outlined a new vision for the country that puts “America first”.
Many groups applied for protest permits during inauguration week, the largest being the Women’s March, scheduled for the day after the inauguration. Over 200,000 participants have registered for the event, whose mission is to “stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”
In another notable act of resistance, nearly 70 Democratic lawmakers chose to boycott the ceremony. Some made the decision to stand in solidarity with Representative John Lewis, who was publicly criticized by Trump for his statements about the president-elect’s legitimacy. Trump responded by saying the long time civil rights activist was “all talk, talk, talk – no action or results.”
Protests are not uncommon at inaugural events. Anger over U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War boiled over to protest at President Nixon’s second inauguration, and in 2001 thousands lined the the parade route of newly instated President George W. Bush following a hotly contested presidential race. At President Obama’s 2009 inauguration, various groups voiced their opinion on issues from same-sex marriage to the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
What are your thoughts? Do you think protest and dissent can be a part of a peaceful transition of power? Why or why not?
OPINION: Boycotting The Inauguration May Be The Right Protest But the Wrong Battleground (Los Angeles Times)
LA Times editor John Healy notes the significance of protesting the presidential inauguration and explains why he believes that the ceremony deserves more respect.
LYRICS: “One Last Time” from Hamilton: An American Musical (Genius)
The two-term limit and peaceful transfer of power was established by our first president, George Washington. In these annotated lyrics, “Hamilton” writer, Lin-Manuel Miranda, offers an interpretation of Washington’s intent to teach the American people how to peacefully say goodbye.