This is an installment of Chris Yobb’s weekly column “My Two Cents”
The 2016 election was like nothing anyone had ever seen before. For the first time since at least 1888 it was clear that the winner of the popular vote, Hillary Clinton, could not reach the number of electoral votes she needed to win the presidency. Whereas Al Gore’s popular vote victory over George Bush in 2000 had to be decided by the Supreme Court, Clinton was still dozens of votes away from an Electoral College victory.
Donald Trump took the oath of office this past Friday (that felt weird to write) and former President Barack Obama (also weird) and first lady Michelle Obama waved goodbye as they were carried away via helicopter from the capitol steps. Whether you agreed with his policies or not, Obama was a genuine and admirable person. Seeing him and his beloved wife leaving put many in tears.
So if the majority of Americans did not vote for Trump and are upset with his victory, what exactly should everybody be celebrating? The answer: a peaceful transition of power.
If you take a step back from all the negativity that this election has brought with it, you will realize that we are a truly privileged nation. It is remarkable that in the history of our great country, we have never had to endure the horrors that others have. For example, in 2016 the Turkish military led a failed coup in an effort to force their own president out of power. It is so important that every four or eight years, the power of the presidency of the United States is transferred without violence or upheaval. It was a principle that our founding fathers implemented during the forming of this country that is still respected today.
If this still seems little worth celebrating, remember that the peaceful transition of power is essential to the stability of our country. While there is no love lost between Obama and Trump, the two of them worked together to ensure that peace was maintained during the period of transition. For them to work together so effectively sends a direct message to American citizens on the importance of maintaining peace.
This message of peace is something that Obama reiterated in his many speeches as he bid America farewell as president. The morning after his party’s candidate lost the election, he told everyone who was upset that, “The sun will, in fact, come out tomorrow.” And it did and has every day since.
The sun will continue to rise every morning no matter who our president is. It is so important for the citizens of the United States to realize that we are all in this together. And much like Obama and Trump were able to act peacefully with one another in the transferring of the most powerful position in the world, we should be able to be act just as peacefully as we talk and live with one another.
Whether you are a Republican, a Democrat, or a member of any other party, it is safe to say that we should all be celebrating the fact that after 45 transitions of power, they have all been peaceful. Hopefully the peace that has been maintained during America’s existence will continue to translate to how the American people act with one another. We are all in the same boat, and if half of us try to sink it, we will all drown.
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Featured image courtesy of Flickr user Mr. Gray.