Inauguration: Then and Now

Eight years ago, I made a special effort to watch the inauguration during work. Why? Because I thought it would be historic. Because I had really bought into the theme of hope Obama embodied, and I wanted to be there at the start of it. And it was an inspiring service, and I left emboldened, even as many in the nation viewed Obama as ominous. They believed he would lead the country somewhere they didn’t want to go.

And now that he’s done with his presidency, many in the country believe he did just that. There are two narratives. One says Obama has been a picture of grace and leadership. That he’s done a great job leading this country through troubled times. The other says he stomped all over the Constitution and that he’s leaving the country a wreck that needs to be repaired.

But here we are at another inauguration, one I have no real desire to witness, and which I won’t make time for at work. And basically, the tables have flipped. You have the same two views on the man who was elected. Which one is right? I would love to be proved wrong. It would be one of the biggest reliefs ever. Time will tell, but I imagine at the end of Trump’s presidency (four or eight years from now), there will still be the two narratives. Still be the two sides that believe two opposite things. That’s the power of a good story, told over time by many different people.

It is what it is.

My real hope is that government will continue to be as inept at getting things accomplished as they have always been. I’ve been in Maine, where we’ve had Trump-lite as a governor for the past long while. He’s said idiotic things. He’s made us look bad. He’s made awful proposals. He’s even tried to appoint himself to lead Education Commissioner. Trump hasn’t tried to make himself head of any of his Cabinet positions. Yet. But even with all the bungling and inanity, life in Maine has moved on. I’ve had good days and bad.

I believe the same will hold true having Trump as a president.

Anyway. Right before Trump takes the oath of office, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir will sing America the Beautiful. And while I guess it’s great that the choir is getting this kind of exposure, you have to admit it looks pretty bad. To have a church that still struggles with a perception that it’s racist, sexist, and homophobic send one of its best known groups to sing right before the election of a man like Trump and all the baggage he brings? It’s going to be validation of that view of the church for many. “See? There go the Mormons again, praising hate.”

I was a missionary for two years. I know the sort of things said about the church, and I know how hard it can be to convince people otherwise. But water, bridge. It’s unfortunate, though I still maintain the church pretty much got painted into that corner this time. (No desire to debate it with any of you again, however.)

Life goes on. Wish us luck.

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