The inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States (POTUS) was held on Friday,
20 January 2017. President Trump is the 45th POTUS, and the transition in power was peaceful. As in all the other transitions of power in the United States, there were no tanks running in the streets or bullets fired. The new President took the oath of office, and the previous President got in Marine I and left Washington, D.C.
Article II, Section I of the Constitution stipulates the oath of office for the President of the United States to be sworn during the inauguration.
Before he enters on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation: --
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United
States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the
The job of POTUS is not an easy job. The difficulty of the job is shown is the way Presidents age during their usual eight years in office. Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama all aged greatly during their time in office. The office of President and each person that becomes President should be treated with respect whether or not people agree with the President’s policies.
In September 1988 Jeffery R.Holland was President at Brigham Young University (BYU) and spoke at a devotional welcoming the students back to school. He joked about the presidential campaign of that year and then
changed to an important matter.
BYU was in their final salute to the bicentennial anniversary of the U.S. Constitution. President Holland spoke of a special film was that would premiere on 30 April 1989, the bicentennial anniversary of George Washington’s first inauguration. He obviously had great respect for President Washington.
“Surely when the Lord speaks in section 101 of the Doctrine and Covenants of raising up `wise men’ for the founding of this nation and the establishment of constitutional government, he must have been speaking first and foremost of George Washington. As unassuming as he was, Washington’s impact on the new republic and on the framing of its government was greater than that of any other living man. His prestige as the victorious colonial general was immense, and his character, his very presence, inspired confidence.
“Note this language used by a journalist of the day to describe Washington’s arrival for that first inauguration. It is unclear whether the writer is describing royalty or deity. `It is impossible to do justice … to … the scene exhibited on his Excellency’s approach to the city. Innumerable multitudes thronged the shores, the wharves, and the shipping --- waiting with … anticipation his arrival…
“`This great occasion arrested the publick attention beyond all powers of description…. All ranks and professions expressed thief feelings, in loud acclamations, and with rapture hailed the arrival of the FATHER OF HIS COUNTRY…
“`The scene … was … beyond any descriptive powers of the pen to do justice to – How universal … the sentiments of respect and veneration!—All ranks [exclaimed,] “WELL, HE DESERVES IT ALL!”
“`The spontaneous [expressions] of gratitude … are the highest reward that virtue enjoys, …
“`Many persons … were heard to say, that they should now die contented – nothing being wanted to complete their happiness … but the sight of the Saviour of [their new nation]. [From the Connecticut Courant of 4 May 1789, in Everett Carll Ladd, The American Polity (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1987), pp. 72-73]
President Holland explained that the above information was written two hundred years previously, and the “adulation is still nearly the same in both tone and content. Listen to this from a resolution passed by Congress and read by the President of the United States on the two-hundredth anniversary of Washington’s birth:
“Washington has come to personify the American Republic. He presided over the convention that framed our Constitution. The weight of his great name was the deciding factor in securing its adoption by the States. These results of could never have been secured had it not been recognized that he would be the first President. When we realize what it meant to take 13 distracted colonies, impoverished, envious, and hostile, and weld them into an orderly federation under the authority of a central government, we can form some estimate of the influence of this great man….
“We have seen many soldiers who have left behind them little but the memory of their conflicts; but … the power to establish among a great people a form of self-government which the test of experience has shown will endure was bestowed upon Washington, and Washington alone…. His was the directing spirit without which there would have been no independence, no Union, no Constitution, and no Republic. His ways were the ways of truth. He built for eternity. His influence grows. His stature increases with the increasing years. In wisdom of action, in purity of character, he stands alone. We cannot yet estimate him. We can only indicate our reverence for him and thank the Divine Providence which sent him to serve and inspire his fellow men. [Handbook of the George Washington Appreciation Course for Teachers and Students (Washington, D.C.: U.S. George Washington Bicentennial Commission, 1932), pp. vii-viii]
President Holland then explained that he had at least two reasons for his long tribute to Washington. “The first is because he is a genuine hero, and I have always wanted to make some public expression about the truly remarkable man I believe he was. I think we may never fully appreciate the magnitude of his impact upon those neonatal days of this nation when it could have so easily died aborning.
“The second reason is to draw all of this closer to home, to see what lessons Washington and his age have for us here at the start of another school year at BYU. To make that transition I quote a recent BYU visitor, political pundit and journalistic gadfly Garry Willis. Said he:
“`[In an election year] we get the presidents we deserve. A great people is what you need for a great president. Washington was the greatest president, because the people were at their most enlightened and alert. [America] right now is escapist. It wants to be soothed, and told it doesn’t have to pay or sacrifice or learn.’ [“Things That Matter,” Vis a Vis, July 1988, p. 70; emphasis added]
President Holland then asked an important question: “Can that possibly be true, that the people made Washington great? That they, as well as he, were `at their most enlightened and alert’?” He then asked the college students what that meant to them.
I ask now, “What does this mean for us?” We had two people as the candidates for President of the United States that no one liked. Republicans and others consider Hillary Clinton as a criminal and should be in prison. Liberals and others consider Donald Trump to be even worse. I saw man on one of the main streets of Anchorage – in 8 degree weather – waving a sign that said, “Impeach Trump.” President Trump had been in office maybe six hours. How could he have done anything that was impeachable in that short time and with everything else he was doing today?
What kind of a President do we want? We must determine this for ourselves and then become that kind of person. If enough of us become the kind of people that the founding generation was, then we might – just might – elect a President like George Washington. Maybe We The People can make Donald Trump a good President!
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