Reader's view: Peaceful transfer of presidential power a memorable event
There was a very important element to the inauguration many Americans may have forgotten. Yes, I voted for Obama, and yes, I'm eager to see an African-American as president. But it's not for those reasons people from all walks of life should have...
There was a very important element to the inauguration many Americans may have forgotten.
Yes, I voted for Obama, and yes, I'm eager to see an African-American as president. But it's not for those reasons people from all walks of life should have looked forward to his swearing-in. Rather, it was that this was the 44th time power was peacefully transferred from one leader to another and the 37th time it was done through an election in the U.S. That's memorable.
George Washington was offered the position of king of a new and floundering nation, but he declined. After serving two terms, Washington chose not to run again, instead stepping down and handing power over to a newly elected president, John Adams.
This has continued to happen throughout the history of the U.S. and is an extremely rare occurrence in the world. When Julius Caesar was killed, Rome became engulfed in a brutal civil war. When Henry VIII died, and his daughter, Mary, a Catholic, ascended to the throne, England became engulfed in a state of violence and tumult that didn't end even after Mary died and Elizabeth I was given the crown.
Looking at our own times, consider Zimbabwe, a nation that had an election not more than a year ago. The incumbent was overwhelmingly defeated but called for a re-vote and ultimately won through intimidation and violence, forcing his opponent to flee the country.
In our nation, power has successfully been transferred 44 times, from one man to another, despite assassinations, differing religions, a defeated incumbent, and, now, despite the color of one's skin.
No matter who you are or what you believe, the peaceful transfer of power can be remembered as another president has taken the oath.
The writer is student body president at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.