Historically, inaugural speeches celebrate the American system… our republican virtue and the peaceful transfer of power. Partisanship is put aside in acknowledgment of being part of something greater, and speakers usually are humbled by the Day.
January 20, 2017 was just another stump speech for our 45th President… unaware or unwilling to accept that the day and our history dwarf him, President Trump repeated his neo-populist campaign slogans in a not-so-subtle swipe at his predecessors. At the precise moment he should have shed his reality TV persona, Mr. Trump chose to continue his role as rabble rouser in-chief.
John Adams understood the gravity of his inauguration… March 4, 1797. His words echoed through history for generations to follow, yet were all but ignored today:
“The existence of such a government as ours for any length of time is a full proof of a general dissemination of knowledge and virtue throughout the whole body of the people. And what object or consideration more pleasing than this can be presented to the human mind? If national pride is ever justifiable or excusable it is when it springs, not from power or riches, grandeur or glory, but from conviction of national innocence, information, and benevolence.”