I have had the privilege of hearing the Marine Band play "Hail to the Chief," and watch a president appreciate it from a short distance on an Inaugural Day.
I was all of 21 at the time, yet every time I watch another president get sworn in I reflect back to being young, cold, confused, proud and concerned.
I sat next to Pat Boone, his wife and children including daughter Debbie, who was about my age. Within two years, I would watch this very same president get impeached. I was present in the staff gallery of the House of Representatives when New York Representative Elizabeth Holtzman read her speech for the impeachment of that president.
About 30 other similar resolutions followed, Speaker Carl Albert presided. It was a wild partisan session. Just a short time before that day, perhaps a month or so, I had actually taken an oath by Speaker Albert in that same chair, as I was seated, then stood on the House floor. During the session with all those introductions of impeachment a congressman held up a real noose on the floor and called the session a lynch mob. For me it was a sad day, I knew what was going to follow would be ugly for the nation.
Fast forward to Inaugural Day 2013. Watching from my computer screen in my warm bedroom I watched the pageantry. I thought about the last election of 2012, which I feel had the nation as divided at it was in 2000, which I think was as divided as it has been in my lifetime.
The result, President Barack Obama is presiding over "a House divided." Hopefully it will not destroy itself. Yet the tenor of the debate these days is as uneasy as it was, in the darkest days of our country's history.
Free states and slave states are now perhaps called red states and blue states. I am not saying slavery is the issue, but that the division and disgust is at a similar pitch. At the age of 60, it is tough to hear good people, many good friends, be so passionately on the polar ends of the tough issues.
Due to the process, in four years, there will be a new president, and a new direction. But we are now in the present of many fiscal, social, and moral issues. Verbal hand to hand combat is being fought openly in the media and on the floors of elected assemblies from town halls to the U.S. Congress itself.
I am hoping the passions of the extreme do not destroy the process of ruling, fairly, equally, justly and legally. The continual revolution that Jefferson spoke about is in fact the elections that are suppose to be the peaceful transition of power between opposing factions based on the will of the majority. Majority rule with minority rights is what this country was built on. Let's hope this rule and these rights will be the mortar from which our country endures.