Hail to the Divider?

For the past two months we have read and listened to reminders of how important it is to respect the institutions of our government even when we can’t bring ourselves to respect the people who run it. I have tried.

For most of my life, I have believed in the U.S. Supreme Court’s ability to rise above politics and to judge the issues before it with wisdom and neutrality. Then in 2000, I witnessed in dismay as, despite the people’s vote to the contrary, the nine people in black robes handed the presidency of the United States to George W. Bush, a man who called himself “the Decider.” Activist judges from the party that claimed to abhor activist judges placed politics above everything. The judicial branch caved in to a thirst for power.

The election of an African American president in 2008 brought into our focus a Congress committed to use all of its muscle to undo any good that he might accomplish to right the wrongs of our world. They did this every day, week, month and year of this good man’s presidency, with all of their might. And the institution of an elected legislative branch crumbled.

In recent weeks, we have witnessed the assembling of a powerful group of nominees to populate the executive branch of our nation’s government. Our new president, claiming the nation’s highest office on this day despite losing the election of the people by nearly 3 million votes, has chosen this team of millionaires and billionaires to support his priorities. Now our executive branch teeters precariously as it prepares to fall into the hands of these people. The third and final branch of our government squanders the respect of a hopeful and anxious nation.

We have a new president. New presidents should unite the people they serve. Will this one unite us or divide us? Will he be a uniter or a divider?  He showed us his answer in his disrespectful inaugural speech and left no doubt.

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