Dating back to its founding, the United States has a rich and historic tradition of witnessing the peaceful transfer of power between political figures and parties. This is something to take pride in and to be mindful of on the heels of one of the most contentious presidential elections in recent history.
Going back to the end of George Washington’s second term as president, our nation and its leaders have followed the system of governance enshrined in the constitution that is built on the understanding that the rule of law demands our respect and that the constitution must be honored and followed.
Presidential inaugurations mark the peaceful transition of power in the U.S. and are something we should be grateful for and not take for granted. Indeed, especially in the early years of our nation’s history when this norm had not yet been fully cemented as tradition, there were opportunities for political adversaries or popular leaders to usurp power and deviate from the process established by the founders.
Throughout history and to this day, there are examples of political figures or organizations that refuse to relinquish power when they lose an election or reach the end of their term. The fact that our country has not fallen prey to similar attempts is to be celebrated. It means that our form of government has withstood the tests and challenges presented to it for over 200 years.
As we prepare for the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States, we should all pause and take a moment to appreciate just how durable and dynamic the American experiment has been. The inaugural activities are an occasion to remember how exceptional our nation is and what sets it apart from so many others.
This is a special time where we can come together as Republicans, Democrats and Independents to acknowledge that the voters have spoken and their voices have been heard.
Thousands will descend upon Washington, D.C. to participate in inauguration festivities. Ordinary citizens will fill the National Mall to witness the moment when the president-elect takes the oath of office and the fanfare ensues. I look forward to celebrating with Arkansans who are making the trip to the nation’s capital to celebrate this historic occasion.
Former presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush will look-on as Donald Trump assumes the presidency. In fact, even the president-elect’s political opponent Hillary Clinton will attend his inauguration and, in doing so, demonstrate one of the things that makes our country great: we honor our political process and the decision of the voters.
It is in this spirit that we resolve to put our differences aside and come together to mark the beginning of a new administration. We won’t see eye-to-eye on every issue and there will be plenty of political and policy debates over the next four years, but the presidential inauguration is a time—though perhaps brief—when Americans from every walk of life show their respect for our system of government and the freedoms we enjoy because of it.