"Do not, I beg you, be troubled by forces already dissolved. You have mistaken the hour of the night. It is already morning." (Hilaire Belloc)
Saturday, January 21, 2017
Eric Margolis comments on the Inauguration.
I normally avoid patriotic events. They invariably remind me of the flag-waving idiocy that led to World War I.
In fact, I was even kicked out of the Boy Scouts in New York City after loudly commenting that their uber-patriotic display of flags, drums, crashing music and paramilitary uniforms looked like the old Hitler Youth.
But watching the inauguration of President Donald Trump (that’s the first time I write these words) I must admit the ceremony moved me way beyond my normally cynical self.
Mind you, I’ve been observing presidential investitures since my father flew us down from New York City to observe President Dwight Eisenhower’s inauguration in 1953. I vividly recall being awed by the giant atomic cannon being towed down Pennsylvania Avenue. I remember reading a fine biography of Genghis Khan on our Eastern Airlines flights.
What I found most impressive this time was the reaffirmation of America’s dedication to the peaceful transfer of political power. This was the 45th time this miracle has happened. Saying this is perhaps banal, but the handover of power never fails to make me proud to be an American and thankful we had such brilliant founding fathers.
This peaceful transfer sets the United States apart from many of the world’s nations, even Britain and Canada, where leaders under the parliamentary system are chosen in a process resembling a knife fight in a dark room. The US has somehow managed to retain its three branches of government in spite of the best efforts of self-serving politicians to wreck it.
Each new president inherits a sea of problems from his predecessor. Donald Trump’s biggest legacy headaches and priority will be in the Mideast, a disaster area on its own but made far, far worse by the bungling of the Obama administration and its dimwitted attempts to put the US and Russia on a collision course.
Thanks to George W. Bush – who dared show his face at the inauguration – and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Obama, Trump inherits America’s longest war, Afghanistan, with our shameful support of mass drug dealing, endemic corruption, and war crimes. Add the crazy mess in Iraq and now Syria.