At latest count, there are well over 60 Democratic members of Congress who are boycotting the swearing-in of President Trump today.
In doing so, they may be trying to make a political statement of displeasure about the outcome of the election. But what they are actually doing is protesting America itself, and the very idea that the people of the nation choose their elected President.
The first and only violent transition of political power here in America took place back in the 1770’s, when a group of courageous British colonists risked their lives, liberty and property to take on King George III. Ultimately these brave people became the first generation of Americans.
Not too long after that, the people, through their elected representatives, adopted a Constitution — a blueprint, as it were — for how our uniquely American form of government would be structured. Article II of our United States Constitution lays out the process for electing the President.
And since the ratification of this foundational document well over two centuries ago, our democratic republic has stood as a shining example to the world of how political power can transition, peacefully, from president to president. Of course there is no better example of this than those occasions when the president of one party is leaving, and a president is being sworn in from the other party.
Every four years (except when a president is re-elected), on January 20th, this transition of power between presidents takes place in a very public ceremony. This event is a very official government function. It is hosted by the government of the United States, it is held on the steps of the United States Capitol, and the oath of office for the new President is conducted by the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. This official inauguration event should not be confused with the many celebratory events that take place before and after it — these are private events.