The inauguration of a US president is normally a moment of great hope. It is a celebration of representative democracy and the peaceful transfer of power. It is an affirmation that the ideals and laws set out in the 1789 US constitution, still a global paradigm for modern-day governance, continue to be honoured and observed. Inauguration confers legitimacy on a head of state in the name of “we, the people”. The incumbent has a duty to respect and uphold the constitution’s central aims, namely “to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty”.
The inauguration this Friday of Donald Trump as 45th US president is not a normal moment.
Trump’s ascent to what is commonly termed the world’s most powerful job is a moment of dread, anxiety and great foreboding.