Respect the Office, Fear the Office Holder

To be honest, I rarely wonder where I am going to actually come down on a certain topic. While not strident (I hope), I am fairly strong in what I believe. And despite being able to leave politics at the door and enjoy people who have opposite views, I was kind of up in the air as to what I thought about this inauguration. Then, I saw what Joe Kennedy had to say and well, the young man nailed it.

Officially, he’s US Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy, III, grandson of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.  Unofficially, he is the new generation Kennedy who gets it. So how is Kennedy handling the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of these United States? He’s attending as a nod to the peaceful succession of power in the greatest democracy in history. But he is using the occasion to start trying to understand exactly why the Democrats lost the White House, failed to retake the Senate and continued to be in the minority in the House.

Mass. US Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy, III. (photo: Boston Globe)
Mass. US Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy, III. (photo: Boston Globe)

First, there’s nothing wrong with staying away from Washington, DC this weekend. The Shad’s congresswoman, Katherine Clarke is boycotting in a symbolic gesture against Trump. I’m good with that. But those staying home should also not pass judgement on those attending. People express themselves in different way.

Personally, as far as a President Trump? I left it all on the field Tuesday.

But Kennedy has a unique perspective. “Believe me, not going to be a whole lot of fun, and I totally understand why some of my colleagues would not want to be there,” he told the Boston Globe. “For me, this is about the celebration of the democratic process and the transfer of power, and recognizing that, still in some parts of the world this doesn’t happen…So, it’s not about the person, it is about the process and the celebration of our democracy, so I should be there.”

That explanation is good enough. But Kennedy sees more. What was the message voters were sending by voting for Trump? “There are an awful lot of people across our country that are still hurting and have been hurting for an awful long time, Kennedy said. “These are folks who have always called the Democratic Party home, and for some reason, this time around, they decided to trust Donald Trump with their vote…Somewhere along the way, we lost their trust, and we’ve got to get it back.” Indeed.