John Lewis won’t be there. Jennifer Holliday will not sing after all. This year, I won’t “be there” either. It is not my pageant.
The pageantry of the inauguration of American presidents has come into sharp focus this year as entertainers weigh whether or not to perform; and, we are beginning to hear from government officials about their consideration of whether or not to attend.
Why do we have such an elaborate pageantry of speakers, pray-ers, poets and performers? Tradition. The US Constitution calls only for an oath prior to beginning presidential duties. Who is present is neither defined nor required.
We the people are not witnessing a coronation of a king to whom we must bow in obedience as to a god. Quite the opposite, we witness a person vowing to serve the nation and protect our nation as defined in the Constitution. That document describes the service our elected officials are to fulfill on our behalf. We witness the promise of the incoming president to serve us and our interests according to constitutional law.
I will pray for the president-elect. But I will not watch.
I do not harbor any illusions that he has our interests at heart, nor that his oath will be kept. Neither do I believe that he knows what the Constitution requires of him. I do not believe he has considered beyond his own bank account what the power of the Presidency means and requires. He has never acted on behalf of others or sacrificed for the good of someone else. His rhetoric and behavior has demonstrated that we the people are his playthings.
As an American citizen, I evidently pay more taxes than he does, am obligated to ethical standards regarding conflict of interest though he prefers to be above ethics. My citizenship is worth less to him than his celebration of an enemy of the American vision and government. As a worker, I am at his disposal and may not be paid if contracted by him. As a family member to military personnel, their sacrifices have been dishonored by his trashing of a Gold Star family because of their constitutionally protected free speech opposing his election.As a woman, I am meaningless to him unless I meet his grade and receive his shameful advances. As a queer woman in a same-sex marriage, his nominees are a threat to my life and livelihood. The list goes on.
In a week, he may legally, though illegitimately, become the US President.
But until he earns it, he is not my president.