On a cold and overcast day in January of 2001, I was delighted as America ushered in a Republican president and bid farewell to the man called ‘Slick Willie’ (I was even more thrilled to have eluded a second Clinton presidency this past November 8). For the changing of the guard, my father and I ventured deep into the District of Columbia among 300,000 other embattled loyalists to inaugurate George W Bush after a rancorous 36-day legal battle and a perilously narrow Electoral College victory 271-266. Liberals held up signs proclaiming ‘Hail to the Thief’ as we navigated the busy streets.
On that day, as Chief Justice William Rehnquist administered the oath of office, Bush’s moment of triumph was sullied by thousands of demonstrators protesting the outcome of the election. In his inaugural address, Bush couldn’t ignore the acrimonious circumstances of his ascent and touched on his quest to bring unity to the country. The idea of unity was quaint as protesters hurled eggs and tennis balls at his limousine.
A message of unity was also at the forefront of President Obama’s address in January 2009 when I watched him deliver his inaugural speech from a friend’s party at the Canadian embassy on a giant screen near the parade route. The outgoing president drew 1.8 million for his inauguration after the left-wing press anointed him the saviour of the free world. Trump will only draw 800,000, not counting the 200,000 protesters who promise to make what should be a civilized affair a sordid spectacle.
As with the ongoing whining from the Remoaners in Britain, so the complaints about Trump’s victory continue to be vociferous and smack very much of sour grapes. Much of the focus surrounding the inauguration has been about how major pop stars refused to perform at last night’s inauguration concert in protest at Trump’s stunning victory. Everybody knows the entertainment world is riven with left-wing bias and Trump’s team clearly made a miscalculation by inviting the likes of Elton John, Andrea Bocelli, Moby and Katy Perry in the first place. They were never likely to accept the invitation and the litany of high-profile rejections have simply amplified the negativity surrounding the inauguration.
George W Bush managed to get Ricky Martin for his inauguration gig, a booking that now looks positively stellar compared to Trump’s final line-up of such famed hit-makers as The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Toby Keith and 3 Doors Down. Today, on inauguration day itself, there will be more music in Washington, and the Donald will be relying (like W before him) on military marching bands making a mighty noise to drown out the whinging from the sore losers assembled in Washington.