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EDITORIAL: New leader, new imperative

York Dispatch
  • Some chose to honor President Donald Trump's inauguration, others did not.
  • To sit out the the event was a matter of personal choice and each American's right.
  • But none of us should sit out the next four years. This is our country.

Inauguration Day 2017 was a reminder of the awesome nature of democracy and the peaceful transfer of power that sets an example for the rest of the world.

Beyond the vitriol of the campaign was graciousness on the part of, among others, the former president and first lady and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Clinton tweeted on Inauguration Day: “I'm here today to honor our democracy & its enduring values. I will never stop believing in our country & its future. #Inauguration."

Some Democratic members of Congress boycotted the event, choosing to volunteer, meditate or do something else. Some Americans could not bring themselves to watch, listen or otherwise participate, either.

President Barack Obama greets Melania Trump as first lady Michelle Obama greets President-elect Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

It was each American’s right to decide how to mark the historic day, in ways that inspired or healed.

We don’t think sitting out the next four years is advisable, though.

Former President Barack Obama said this in his farewell address:

“It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy. Embrace the joyous task we have been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours because, for all our outward differences, we in fact all share the same proud type, the most important office in a democracy: citizen.

Citizen. So, you see, that’s what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there’s an election, not just when your own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime. If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the internet, try talking with one of them in real life.”

The Obama Foundation is Barack and Michelle Obama’s next project. And they invite all Americans to participate. It’s one of so many ways to jealously guard our democracy.

Though some might believe their voices won’t be heard in an America led by a Trump administration, it is not a reason to sit it out. If you don’t come to the table, it is certain your voice will remain unheard.

Whether it is staying engaged with the former president and first lady through The Obama Foundation or participating in another way, be engaged and be vigilant on issues that are important to you. One person can, indeed, make a difference.

If you feel you are in the minority, if you are confused about the country in which you live, keep in mind that there is no alternative to getting involved and proactively, peacefully agitating for change.

It’s more important now than ever.

Whether or not you voted for Donald Trump, the peaceful transfer of power is an awesome thing to behold.

We can’t wait for the next one. But until that time, we won’t stop advocating for the inclusive democracy we believe in.

We hope you won’t either.