By Harrison Yu
The chance to witness the Presidential Inauguration is a truly momentous occasion. Whether or not we voted for the candidate or believe that he will do a good job is not the point of attending the inauguration. Instead, the point, at least for me, is to support the peaceful transition of power from one president to the next. If we are to believe in American Democracy, then this transition of power is one of the most important aspects of signifying that we accept the Constitutional method of handing over the presidency. In this case, the stark differences between the old president and the new make it apparent that we believe in our version of democracy so strongly that there will not be any institutional political blockage as we make this change.
My expectation during the inauguration itself is simple: to bear witness to Donald Trump accepting that he will “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” I’m not sure what to expect from his written speech. He will likely lay out what he believes are the biggest challenges facing America, but I do not expect any clear policies in the speech. His grandiose style will certainly be apparent as he tries to milk the spot light and lead into his honeymoon period of presidency.
For the rest of the trip, I am excited about meeting people who work in Washington. Having traveled to D.C., the monuments and historical features will still be interesting, but not new to me. This time, I will actually get to engage those who work in the “swamp.” As someone who wants to work in government or for think tanks that work on the national level, it will be useful to hear their perspective on the inner workings of Washington. Do they, like many others, believe that Washington is a cesspool? Are they still optimistic that federal government work provides useful services to people in an efficient manner? Have they felt nervous about previous inaugurations and how have they overcome those trepidations to work for a better America?
As a goal for myself, I would like to be more confident in introducing myself. I often shy away during meet-and-greets, so I would like to put myself forward more. Additionally, I want to get used to establishing long-term contacts with the people whom we meet in Washington D.C. I tend to be bad at following through with connections, so my hope is that I will reach out to my new contacts after the initial meeting. Again, this is likely due to a lack of self-confidence. Confidence is key, and so my aim is to practice confidence.