A peaceful turnover of power. That’s one of the unique things that makes this country so great. Yes; yesterday, the 20th of January 2017 was peaceful. Yes, there were protests; but we shouldn’t let that hold back this great land. The recent violence after the election of Donald Trump doesn’t worry me, there has been violence throughout our election history. In 2008, President Obama won the election. People on the far right thought it was the end of the world. There was booing during Obama’s inauguration when then President Bush was announced. Intimidation, threats, and even crimes took place in some cities. There were purported cases of voter intimidation during the election. But you know what?
The country survived.
Would you like a point to ponder? Check out these election day brouhahas from around the globe.
There is rule I call the “Asshole Factor.” In this rule, 10% of [fill in any demographic or descriptor] are assholes; and I write them off. The people who destroy others’ property fall into this rule. Every citizen has the right to protest – peacefully. When you are no longer peaceful, you forfeit your right, as your right to protest (free speech) doesn’t trump another’s right of security and safety, and that extends to their property.
A favorite passage that I have read comes from Ronald Reagan’s 1981 inaugural address:
“The crisis we are facing today does not require of us the kind of sacrifice that Martin Treptow [, killed during W.W.I,] and so many thousands of others were called upon to make. It does require, however, our best effort and our willingness to believe in ourselves and to believe in our capacity to perform great deeds, to believe that together with God’s help we can and will resolve the problems which now confront us.
And after all, why shouldn’t we believe that? We are Americans.”
An interesting perspective about politics and violence is written by Kellie Jackson (2011). She writes about the challenges of teaching about the power of politics and resistance.
I would like to repeat, and expand upon what I wrote above: Every citizen has the right to protest – peacefully. When you are no longer peaceful, you forfeit your right. Your right to protest (free speech) doesn’t trump another’s right of security and safety. I have heard people say the protesters only destroy businesses. This may be true; but those businesses are owned by citizens. Those citizens have to pay out of their livelihood to fix the protesters damages. They have insurance; once again, this may, or may not, be true. Even if it is, this type of behavior causes rates to go up. If the cost of doing business goes up, that cost gets passed along to their customers. So, in short; if you feel the need to destroy a car; destroy your own car. If you feel the need to break a window, break your own window. If you feel the need… you get my drift.
Our country WILL survive.
As Americans, we have the right to pursue our life, liberty and happiness as we see fit. As we see fit, provided we do not infringe upon another’s right to the same. And that my friends is the crux. Too many people want it only their way. In this great melting pot we call America – there are many versions of the American Dream. And all of us should be allowed to pursue our dreams, provided we do not infringe upon another’s version of the dream.
That’s right, we are, all of us, Americans. We have the capacity to do great things. We can, should, and will, resolve our problems. It may not be easy, it never is easy to have those tough conversations and be the first. But they need to happen in order for true change to occur, and our nation is up to the task.
Our Asshole of the month for January, 2017: protesters who destroy the property of others.
Want some good reading? Check out these inaugural addresses:
- President Carter’s 1977 inaugural address.
- President Reagan’s 1981 inaugural address.
- President Obama’s 2009 inaugural address.
- President Obama’s 2013 inaugural address.
- President Trump’s 2017 inaugural address.
My favorite inaugural speech? Written by F.D. Roosevelt on his THIRD re-election (He was the only man to serve 4, yes FOUR terms) in 1945:
“Mr. Chief Justice, Mr. Vice President, my friends:
You will understand and, I believe, agree with my wish that the form of this inauguration be simple and its words brief.
We Americans of today, together with our allies, are passing through a period of supreme test. It is a test of our courage —of our resolve—of our wisdom—of our essential democracy.
If we meet that test—successfully and honorably—we shall perform a service of historic importance which men and women and children will honor throughout all time.
As I stand here today, having taken the solemn oath of office in the presence of my fellow countrymen—in the presence of our God—I know that it is America’s purpose that we shall not fail.
In the days and the years that are to come, we shall work for a just and honorable peace, a durable peace, as today we work and fight for total victory in war.
We can and we will achieve such a peace.
We shall strive for perfection. We shall not achieve it immediately-but we still shall strive. We may make mistakes—but they must never be mistakes which result from faintness of ‘heart or abandonment of moral principle.
I remember that my old schoolmaster, Dr. Peabody, said-in days that seemed to us then to be secure and untroubled, “Things in life will not always run smoothly. Sometimes we will be rising toward the heights—then all will seem to reverse itself and start downward. The great fact to remember is that the trend of civilization itself is forever upward; that a line drawn through the middle of the peaks and the valleys of the centuries always has an upward trend.”
Our Constitution of 1787 was not a perfect instrument; it is not perfect yet. But it provided a firm base upon which all manner of men, of all races and colors and creeds, could build our solid structure of democracy.
Today, in this year of war, 1945, we have learned lessons-at a fearful cost—and we shall profit by them.
We have learned that we cannot live alone, at peace; that our own well-being is dependent on the well-being of other Nations, far away. We have learned that we must live as men and not as ostriches, nor as dogs in the manger.
We have learned to be citizens of the world, members of the human community.
We have learned the simple truth, as Emerson said, that, “The only way to have a friend is to be one.”
We can gain no lasting peace if we approach it with suspicion and mistrust—or with fear. We can gain it only if we proceed with the understanding and the confidence and the courage which flow from conviction.
The Almighty God has blessed our land in many ways. He has given our people stout hearts and strong arms with which to strike mighty blows for freedom and truth. He has given to our country a faith which has become the hope of all peoples in an anguished world.
So we pray to Him now for the vision to see our way clearly to see the way that leads to a better life for ourselves and for all our fellow men—and to the achievement of His will to peace on earth.”
What say you?