Disgraceful Behavior of Two Massachusetts Congressmen
By NBP Editorial Board | January 23, 2017, 7:39 EST
The Inaugural Ceremony has become a sacred moment in American political life. It is not only a majestic political moment but also one that demonstrates that we, as a people, still invoke God’s blessing on our land. It is a grand and stately ritual which shows that despite deep ideological divides in the country and passionate beliefs about those assuming power, the great American experiment in democracy is alive and well.
Last Friday, the world watched the peaceful transfer of power from one political party to another in Washington. President Donald Trump took the oath of office and thanked the outgoing president for his help during the transition. Vice President Mike Pence praised both former president Barack Obama and former vice president Joe Biden for their cooperation in helping to ensure a smooth transition.
Except at this Inaugural, 67 Democratic members of the House of Representatives chose to boycott the event. Two are from Massachusetts — Representatives Michael Capuano and Katherine Clark. Two others come from elsewhere in New England — Representatives Chellie Pingree from Maine and Carol Shea-Porter from New Hampshire.
What disgraceful behavior! What disrespect to the American Republic!
The boycott of the Inaugural ceremony by one third of the members of the House of Representatives from one party is unprecedented in American history. Yes, there have been several presidents who chose not to attend the inauguration of their successor. Two were from Massachusetts — John Adams and John Quincy Adams. (Both acted not out of political motives but because they felt they had been personally insulted by their successors.) A small number of House Democrats stayed away from President Richard Nixon’s second inaugural ceremony. But there has never been anything of this size before.
This is perhaps an indication that American is more divided now than at any time since the Civil War. But this boycott is not just a barometer; it’s making things worse.
Since the revolution in 1789, France has been torn apart by the deadly antagonism between those of conservative, capitalist, religious, and traditional values and those of leftist, socialist, atheist, and progressive values. As a consequence, France has experienced periods of such disunity that France repeatedly was a failed state.
America managed to avoid this kind of ideological divide until the baby boomers came on the scene in the late 1960s. Determined to politicize everything they touched, they became what Peter Collier and David Horowitz called the “Destructive Generation,” and this generation, believing that they claim the moral high ground, elevated their values and political goals above the common good. We see the fruit of this now.
President Obama was elected in 2008, running as the most liberal major-party candidate for the office in American history. Nevertheless Republican lawmakers, understanding that the sacred ritual of the Inaugural ceremony demonstrates that the country is ultimately more important than any person or party’s political beliefs or agenda, did not boycott the ceremony. In fact, despite losing the White House and Congress to the Democrats in 2008, many conservatives took some pleasure in the Obama’s election, as it showed the world that America was not institutionally racist, as many Democrats claim, but was in fact further along the path of racial justice than most nations.
Now, America seems to be coming apart at the seams. The intolerance of the Left — the unwillingness to even hear much less debate contested principles — is breathtaking. And in America now, the far Left often turns to violence, which was witnessed in Washington last Friday. It calls to mind the 1968 Democratic convention.
Representatives Capuano and Clark need to apologize for their scandalous behavior. Their behavior will not help the cause of Massachusetts with the Trump administration over the next four years. And more importantly, it is hurting our country, driving a wedge in the American body politic.