Why America is exceptional – the crowds in the street during the inauguration weekend


Women's March at the Texas Capital Jan 21, 2017

America is an exceptional country in certain interesting ways. Most large democracies today have a parliamentary system of government. The vast majority of democracies with a strong presidential system like ours have experienced either a period of dictatorship or a military coup at some point in their history. America has had neither of these. We’ve always had a peaceful transition of power, and even after some hard fought and contested elections, the losing candidate has always recognized the other as the legitimate winner. We’ve never had one side throw its political rivals in prison. (Admittedly the incoming president has verbally flirted with crossing both of those last two lines.) This successful history is due in large part to our concept of checks and balances – multiple independent branches of government that serve to limit the excesses of each other. When necessary, the public itself serves as the final and most important check and balance. That is what we are seeing now. When hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets in the days surrounding the inauguration of Donald Trump, they are not to be seen as sore losers, nor do they generally deny the results of the election. They are serving their role as the ultimate check and balance on a government when it appears that other traditional checks and balances will likely be ineffective. Our democracy is going to be tested like it never has since the civil war, and it will take patriotic citizens with a strong love for this country to fulfill their key role in our system of checks and balances. Our country is calling on us.

One thought on “Why America is exceptional – the crowds in the street during the inauguration weekend

  1. ”We’ve always had a peaceful transition of power…”
    I find it hard to agree with that statement in light of the assassinations (and attempted assassinations) of presidents and candidates………which facilitated unfair ‘transitions of power’ to others who brought about unjust changes in values and policies.
    It is yet to be seen whether this wave of protests will persist and form a movement that will change present policies and trends forced on us now.
    Also, it doesn’t take an ‘exceptional’ nation to protest their corrupt governments and try to influence change peacefully…….most nations on earth do that, usually before the more violent forces take over…….
    We have yet to see if this nation can persist for justice and change in the face of militarized police and harsh punishments for dissenters we’ve been seeing recently, especially with whistle blowers.

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