Presidential inaugurations are not political events. Instead, they are affairs of state. Mandated by the Constitution, every American President has taken the oath of office as part of an inaugural ceremony.
Sometimes circumstances throughout history have caused unique inaugural ceremonies. For instance, Ronald Reagan’s second inaugural in 1985 was moved indoors due to extremely cold weather. This hadn’t happened since Taft’s inaugural in 1909. The War of 1812 caused two inaugurals to be held at locations other than the Capitol.
Following a partisan election, inaugural ceremonies are a time for the nation to come together. Indeed, the transfer of power and recognition of election results is a long-held tradition in the United States and has served as a model for many other nations during their transitions to democracy. This is a tradition all Americans can be proud of.
The selection of speakers for Inauguration is also a way that the Inaugural Committee, by proxy of the President, can signal their priorities and sometimes, cultural shifts. For instance, President Obama is making history by naming Richard Blanco to present this year’s inaugural poem. Blanco, a Cuban-American, is not only the first Latino to serve in such a capacity, but also the first openly gay person.
This serves in contrast to four years ago when Rick Warren, selected to deliver the invocation at Inauguration, served as a lightning rod of controversy for his support of anti-gay causes. This year, when the minister selected to give the benediction was revealed to have given anti-gay sermons, he withdrew and was quickly removed from the program. The Inaugural Committee issued a statement pledging to select someone to deliver the benediction and “ensure their beliefs reflect this administration’s vision of inclusion and acceptance for all Americans.”
Another wonderful tradition of Presidential Inaugurations is the inaugural balls. While President Obama has opted to has one massive ball instead of many regional balls that have been held in recent history, other groups host non-official balls. From state societies to non-profits to corporate entities, there is no shortage of balls to choose from!
In fact, Troup client AT&T is an official sponsor of both the Human Rights Campaign Inaugural Ball and the Latino Inaugural Ball. This continues to put AT&T at the intersection of two minority groups that are growing both their political power and their market power.
As I have done many times in the past, I will be on hand at the inaugural celebrations to participate in one of the most storied traditions in America. I look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones!