Wednesday, November 26, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Inaugurations inevitably include a slip-up

By
From page A10 | January 20, 2013 |

The issue: But the event’s greatness — a peaceful and decorous transfer of power — remains unmarred

The inauguration of an American president is one of the oldest institutions in a continuous democracy since George Washington took the oath on April 30, 1789.

IN THE MODERN ERA, the planners of the inaugural celebration make extensive and heroic efforts to make sure nothing goes wrong. A week ago, in the predawn darkness, the military bands marched up and down Pennsylvania Avenue and around the Capitol grounds. Tall and handsome stand-ins for the president and first lady did dry runs of the oath-taking.

Nothing is left to chance. But, if there is one certainty about an American presidential inauguration, it’s that something is sure to go wrong.

Something already has. Thousands of would-be inaugural ballgoers who thought they had reserved tickets were abruptly informed by Ticketmaster that a glitch allowed their tickets to be sold to someone else.

This year, the balls are more selective. With fewer political favors to pay off, the Obamas are giving only two — one reserved for members of the armed services, the other the actual A-list ball. In their first year in office, they gave 10.

“Ball” is rather a misleading term, because they are generally oversubscribed, jammed and demanding of unusual persistence and pushiness to get a plastic piece of stemware holding a splash of overpriced white wine.

VETERANS STILL fondly recall the Great Mink Riots of 1981, when Reaganites flooded the town and its cloakrooms. At evening’s end at one ball, beleaguered attendants finally began flinging fur coats at random into the crowd that threatened to overwhelm them.

There is no mingling with the first couple. When he was newly sworn in, President George W. Bush made a brief appearance at each ball, treated first lady Laura Bush to about two dance steps, and was back in the White House by his regular bedtime.

Barack Obama’s first inaugural, in 2009, required that he be sworn in twice because Chief Justice John Roberts muffed the first reading of the oath of office.

At the official inauguration luncheon at the Capitol that year, two of the great, and elderly, Democratic lions of the Senate — Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts and Robert Byrd of West Virginia — fell ill and had to be taken to the hospital. Their ailments turned out to be momentary.

EVEN IF THE planning is meticulous, the weather is not. Ronald Reagan’s second inauguration, in 1985, had to be moved indoors and the parade postponed because of 7-degree temperatures. Eight inches of snow fell on the eve of the ceremony; Lincoln’s second inaugural was inundated by rain.

Andrew Johnson braced himself with whiskey before his speech until he was practically incoherent. At Andrew Jackson’s inaugural, the White House staff had to drag tubs of spiked punch onto the lawn to get their revelers to leave.

All inaugurations have their social mishaps, but the event’s greatness is unmarred: It is a peaceful and decorous transfer of power in a country where it is unthinkable, unlike in other parts of the world, for a leader to extend his grip on power through extra-legal means.

That oath of office to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” truly means something — even though, in 57 tries at it, we seem unable to get the ceremony iself exactly right.

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Time to give thanks for nature’s beauty

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Food fight … in a good way

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Fremont Weir parking lot remains closed

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1

     
    Occupy movement settles in at UC Davis

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Guard reinforcements contain damage in Ferguson

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Weather affecting Thanksgiving travelers

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Second cat-hoarding suspect arrested

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    Happy Thanksgiving from The Enterprise

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Free bike clinic, ride set Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Year-end films to see, or not, on KDRT

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    LCI marks 50 years with special service

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Senior Center hosts holiday sing-along

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Sutter sponsors qigong for holiday de-stress

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Learn to use Skype at Connections Café

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Girls who volunteer may apply for grant

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Round up at the registers for Davis schools

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Davis Community Gift Project brightens holidays for children

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

    Speaker proposes changes in humanities doctorate

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Boy Scouts start Christmas tree sales on Friday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Volunteers needed to grow plants for habitat restoration

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Rainbow City community meeting set Dec. 1

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

    .

    Forum

    She wants more from him

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Innovation parks comparison

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

     
    Musings in the wake of Ferguson decision

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Rich Rifkin: Is it time to be a bear or a bull?

    By Rich Rifkin | From Page: A6

     
    Planting love at new home

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    Let’s not lose another good DHS coach

    By Chris Saur | From Page: B1

     
    Blue Devils prepare for a new season on the mat

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    No excuses, but there’s hope for UCD after 2-9 season

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Joseph, Manzanares lead 10 All-Big Sky Aggie picks

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    DHS wrestling is not just for boys

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Davis Little League offers early sign-up discounts

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

     
    Kings get past Pelicans

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

    .

    Features

    Salute to non-steamed broccoli

    By Dan Kennedy | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    .

    Arts

    It really is ‘The Best Christmas Pageant Ever’

    By Debra DeAngelo | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Elzyne Thompson

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Death notice: Buddy Ralph Mills

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Wednesday, November 26, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Ready, Set, Shop!

    Shop locally: You can have your pie and eat it too

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: RSS1

    Santa’s little helper: secrets to happy holiday shopping

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: RSS2

    Make sure it gets there: deadlines for shopping and shipping

    By The Associated Press | From Page: RSS2

    Downtown lights up at holiday open house

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: RSS3

    Full of warm wishes and over-sharing, the holiday card lives on

    By The Associated Press | From Page: RSS4

    Woodland celebrates the holidays downtown

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RSS5

    Shop smart: Protect your wallet and your identity this shopping season

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RSS5