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The peaceful transfer of power

Contrary to what the White House Historical Association says, there have indeed been presidential inaugurations held amidst large-scale protests.

Photo by Ronda Darby

By Ken Wackes January 2017

Think of it! John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams to Andrew Jackson, Herbert Hoover to Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower to John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson to Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton to George W. Bush. These were transitions involving radically different political and economic policies.

Except for the war among the states following the transition from James Buchanan to Abraham Lincoln, Democrats and Republicans alike have honored the provisions of the Constitution and united behind each new president.

Not all transitions were without protests.

Contrary to what the White House Historical Association says, there were inaugurations held amidst large-scale protests. Upon the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 twelve states seceded from the Union. In 1969 Anti-War protestors in threw rocks, bottles, and smoke bombs at the Nixon cavalcade. And there were large crowds of protestors at both of George W. Bush’s inaugurations.

It looks like we are in for more of the same with Inauguration 2017. Protests are planned in 30+ cities. In Boston, police are preparing for up to 200,000 women protestors. Activists claim that they will immobilize Washington D.C.

This time something is very different; there is a call to disrupt the Inauguration itself.

  1. The assertion is made by an anarchist organization, DisruptJ20, that “the vast majority of Americans” do not accept this President-Elect to lead the country and therefore the Inauguration should be blocked.
  2. Five Democrat members of Congress are boycotting the Inauguration, because, as one says in an NBC’s Meet the Press to air Sunday, that he does not consider Trump a “legitimate president.”
  3. Protests are planned to clog entry points so that people wishing to view the Inauguration will be hampered.
  4. Up to 10,000 pro-Trump bikers are expected.
  5. Security will include more than 3,200 police officers from departments across the country, 8,000 members of the National Guard and an additional 5,000 active-duty military members.

On Twitter, #DisruptJ20 says, “[This] isn’t just about Trump. It’s a rejection of capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy, & lgbtq hate. It’s about the whole system.”

But when all is said and done, by 2:00pm on January 20 there will be a new president sworn in, protestors will have exercised their First Amendment rights, and the nation will go about its activities as usual.

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