Peaceful transfer of power is our democracy’s cornerstone

Peaceful transfer of power is our democracy’s cornerstone

America has enjoyed a long-standing tradition of peacefully transferring power since 1801 when John Adams left Washington, D.C., under cover of the night just prior to Thomas Jefferson’s inauguration.

Adams and Jefferson had once been friends. But unfortunately like many friendships bred in politics, they eventually became political enemies. Adams was George Washington’s vice president. During this presidency as America was developing its processes, Thomas Jefferson began to distrust the increasing power of the federal government. Jefferson in response created the Democratic-Republican Party in opposition to growing Federalist programs.

Upon George Washington’s departure in 1796, Adams and Jefferson  entered the arena to determine who would succeed our nation’s first president. Adams narrowly defeated Jefferson. But Adams’ tenure was mired with clashes with the Democratic-Republican Party over everything from taxes to religion. These political differences took center stage in the presidential election in 1800, this time with Thomas Jefferson emerging as the victor. Despite this feud, John Adams quietly left office under cover of the night right before Jefferson’s inauguration.

With this act, the peaceful transfer of power became a hallmark of our democracy.

Today, we live in a climate where that hallmark of our democracy is not only being threatened but outright destroyed. A war has been waged on the very essence of what makes America great!  The biggest threat to the hallmark of our democracy is a sitting president who has incited violence and distrust in how we transfer power. Tearing down our faith in the election process and using his podium to bully government officials seems more reminiscent of Third Reich tactics than those of an American president.  But make no mistake about it, tearing down our peaceful transfer of power is no different than waging war on our democracy.

We have seen the president issue threats to members of his own party who have not aided him in changing the election results. We have seen mobs personally threaten public officials. Members of the executive branch have issued directives to staff to resist the incoming administration.

While destroying the American way of life, they claim to be patriots.

Prior to the 2020 election, it was widely accepted that voter fraud was so rare as to be deemed almost nonexistent. In fact, to sustain such an argument that voter fraud occurred, one would have to visualize the extent to which a coordinated effort amongst states and their election boards, all of which include members of both the Democratic and Republican parties, federal judges appointed for life by Trump and the U.S. Supreme Court working in unison to perpetuate such a feat. Yet despite using all means available to establish this claim, Trump has now pivoted to saying that while fraud existed, it is  “undetectable.”  Once we lose our faith in our election process, we lose the essence of who we are, and then the erosion of our value of peacefully transferring power is the next step. While we have seen hostile tensions play out during past elections, we have never experienced an American president trying to perpetuate democracy’s destruction.

It is time for Americans to unite at least on this one principle — what makes America great is our peaceful transfer of power and the smooth continuation of governance.   

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