A Special Day

Today is a special day.  Barack Obama will be inaugurated the 44th President of the United States.  For me, what makes this a special day has nothing to do with President Obama.  What is special for me is that our nation is having another peaceful and orderly transfer of power–an unbroken tradition since March 4, 1797 when John Adams became the 2nd President of the United States.

As of today, 43 men have served as President.  Grover Cleveland got a two-fer.  He was the 22nd and the 24th President.  Usually we have elected our presidents.  Sometimes they become president at the death of the president, as was the case with John Tyler, Andrew Johnson, Chester A. Arthur, Theodore Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Lyndon Johnson.  Gerald Ford became president after Richard Nixon’s resignation.  Sometimes the new president defeated the sitting president.  Sometimes the party in power was voted out, sometimes the new president was of the same party of the departing president.  However, every change has been peaceful and orderly.  So much so that we just expect that will always be the case.

In the rest of the world, such orderly transfers of power are the exception, not the rule.  Once in power, men like to stay in power, and often stay there until they are forcefully removed.  We should count as one of our great blessings that we live in the world’s oldest democracy and that the people we choose as our leaders respect the Constitutional limits on their length of their terms.

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