I cannot express my disappointment when I found out President Carter, Mrs. Carter, President Clinton, and Mrs. Clinton were attending Trump's inauguration. There are many reasons why this is a terrible thing to do.
The Clintons and the Carters may be attending Trump's inauguration to show some peaceful transition of power to the rest of the world. But they are fooling no one. The election of Donald Trump has already proven to the world that America is not exceptional after all. It suffers the same ills as the rest of the world. While it sells itself as more evolved, given the right conditions along with poor leadership, we backslide to the typical depths of the offensive animal side.
Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich posted a story that bears retelling. He wrote the following.
I got a call this morning from a politician I respect who told me he was attending Trump’s inauguration not because he backs Trump but because he believes in promoting unity over partisanship and supporting a peaceful transition of power
I told him that’s why politicians of both parties normally attend an inauguration. But the issue here has nothing to do with partisanship or a normal transition of power. It’s not matter of Democrat versus Republican, or left versus right.
The issue here is how former presidents and other politicians should respond to someone who has shown himself to be a dangerous demagogue.
Donald Trump became president by lying, demeaning women, denigrating racial and ethnic minorities, denying intelligence reports of foreign intervention in our election, excusing violence against opponents, and undermining the freedom and independence of the press. And since being elected he’s held rallies and issued tweets in which he’s continued to tell big lies, retaliate against critics, call opponents “enemies,” avoid press conferences, and dismiss conflicts of financial interest.
I told him that, in my view, attending Trump’s inauguration gives tacit support and approval to someone who poses a clear and present danger to our democracy.
I would go further than Reich did. It is more than tacit approval. It is condoning Trump's path to victory while not exacting a price to curtail that behavior in the future. Trump's presidency must go into the history books as no more than an asterisk. He became president with the help of an unfriendly foreign power while creating division between Americans. That is in fact, a clear and present danger to our democracy.
So far, A-List celebrities are doing the right thing by staying away from Trump's inauguration. It is commendable that some are participating in a Love-A-Thon during the event set on raising funds for causes such as Civil Rights, Women’s Reproductive Health, and Climate Change. Even more commendable are people like Jan Chamberlin of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Mary (pseudonym) of the Rockettes, who said they would not perform even as it may hurt their careers.
Unless one has a political duty to attend Donald Trump's inauguration, one should not attend. Our history books would rightfully report such a snubbing as a country coming to its senses after a mental lapse that enabled a demagogue to get elected even if undemocratically illegitimate.