In my preceding post, I congratulated the speechwriters and the delivery by President Trump of his address to the crowd, the nation and the world. I thought it was a well-written speech and the delivery was fairly eloquent, but I see many observers feel it was not a good speech at all, for various reasons — which shows how much I really know about American politics, i.e. very little, indeed.
But my praise of the speech and my congratulations to him and his supporters should not be viewed as support for him and his administration. It wasn’t. I was just doing what so many people did today: congratulated the winners, just as a losing hockey team congratulates the winners after a hard-fought playoff series.
Personally, I see some hope for the American people in the promises of President Trump, but I understand why so many people dislike him. But I worry more about the party he represents and the people pulling the strings behind the scene, because I don’t think the U.S. president has as much power as some people think. I don’t think Trump personally has anything against LGBTQ people, for example, but others in his party certainly do. And as they attempt to roll back gains made by LGBTQ people, I’m not sure Trump will be able to stop them. I’ll get into this in more detail in a later post . . . but I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump quits in disgust somewhere down the line.
About the inauguration: I had never watched the inauguration of a U.S. president before, and I was touched by some of what I saw, namely the class shown by Barack Obama and his wife, by Hillary Clinton and her husband for showing up, and by the whole process in general.
I also came away from it — after listening to three prayers by three individuals during the swearing-in process — with the thought that the American government has a firm Christian foundation. I’m not sure if that is a Republican thing or is just the way it is done for all presidential inaugurations, but there is no doubt that the Republican party has pretty deep fundamentalist leanings — and that’s just the way it is for so many Americans. Not so in Canada, where prayers and hymns simply are not part of our federal political process.
I watched the coverage on CBS, and the announcer mentioned how moved he was as Barack Obama and his wife boarded the helicopter that would fly them out of Washington, while President Trump and his wife and Vice-President Pence and his wife stood on the steps of the Capitol building and saluted. Yes, I was touched by that, too. It’s not the sort of thing we see in Canada.
All in all, it was a great show, even if the main actors were not the ones I wanted to win.
This historic day, though, was not a time for protest for me. It was a time to applaud an American process that is repeated every time a new president is inaugurated — and it will probably be happening again in four years, and Donald Trump will make the same sort of gracious exit that President Obama made.
I was disappointed to see that some demonstrators in D.C. resorted to violence later, burning cars and smashing store windows and injuring police officers. I don’t blame that sort of hooliganism on Trump; I blame it on the individuals who are looking for any opportunity to run amok — and Montrealers can tell you all about that sort of thing after we witnessed similar hooligans using peaceful student protests against Quebec’s Liberal government policies to loot and burn and injure. These types of idiots exist in every city, and they have nothing to do with peaceful democratic protest.
In fact, some hooligans in Montreal used the Trump inauguration on Friday as an excuse to cause trouble in Montreal streets. So stupid . . .
Photo: A classy handover of power: President-elect Donald Trump and outgoing President Barack Obama leave the White House en route together to the presidential inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20, 2017. Source: Screengrab taken by Jillian Page