Peaceful Transitions

…are what makes America great…

“This government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support.”

– George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796
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Once upon a time, 2 men fought to free our nation from Great Britain. Then they both helped create a new democratic government for baby America. Then they realized they hated one another with a burning passion because oh my dear heavens that person has totally crazy indecent absolutely horrible ideas about how government should work. AND if THEY take power our government will be totally wrecked and the nation will fall apart. And I should know, I helped set this thing up. Those 2 guys – John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Oh and even better, like a few decades later after all this drama, they totally talk it out and become BFF pen pals again. Because life.

So…did the world end and America crumble to the ground when these men exchanged power one cold morning in 1801? Obviously the answer is no. America continued on. Power was transitioned peacefully between the two parties at the time. For the very first time in the history of our government. Were people still upset? You bet ya. Did people protest? Certainly. Did Jefferson totally set to work trying to dismantle everything Adams and the Federalists had done? Sure thing. Did the Federalist fight against the incoming Democratic-Republican’s (yes for reals that was the Jefferson party name) agenda tooth and nail? Of course. Did either side every really get entirely what they wanted out of the whole shebang? Nope, decidedly not. In the long run, it all came out about in between both parties’ visions.

Do you hate Trump, totally peeved he’s inbound? Totally fine. Did you despise Obama, are you super excited he’s finally out? That’s cool too. Hate them both? Good. The thing is. This isn’t new. It’s not exceptional. If you think Trump is an ethically challenged imbecile, well he certainly wouldn’t be the first questionable president in US history. Give a google to Ulysses Grant, who was probably drunk daily on the job (seriously). Or look up Warren Harding and the Teapot Dome scandal. Talk about your conflict of interests. Absolutely hate Obama and his liberal policies and altering of traditional America? Try Lyndon Johnson, who definitely pushed through all that Great Society legislation, which started civil rights laws and you know Medicaid and Medicare, also the war on poverty. Or Woodrow Wilson who tried to create the first version of the United Nations after World War I. Plus there’s all the less than stellar guys who pretty much managed to pick the wrong thing every time they had to make a presidential decision- James Buchanan and Herbert Hoover come to mind. Seriously, Hoover’s terrible decision making pretty much guaranteed the Great Depression would be as horrible as it ended up being.

So maybe you’re not happy today. Maybe you are. The point is – guess what? It’s not Gambia! Power will transition peacefully! The opposition will still have a say on governance AND the ability to come back and win one for the team next time. Those in power now will be able to work their agenda and see how that turns out. This is what actually makes American great. All the time. Always has, and if we continue to exercise our rights to participate in our own governance, it always will.

Res Publica

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/washing.asp

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