The Atlantic

An Inaugural Celebration That Rings Hollow

Commentators love to praise the peaceful handover of power—but this year, it stands as a reminder of the system’s fragility and shortcomings.
Source: Lucas Jackson / Reuters

Every presidency is different, but inaugural coverage is always the same. Commentators congratulate Americans on the peaceful transition of power and intone solemn sentences about democratic renewal.

There is something unnerving about these reassurances, something overstated, even hysterical. When a British prime minister loses the confidence of the House of Commons and must suddenly trundle out of 10 Downing Street (as some six dozen of them have done since the job was invented in the 1740s; a few more than once), nobody marvels on television how

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic6 min readNutrition
American Nostalgia On A Bun
The burger, shake, and fries—“enduring icons of American cuisine”— are used to symbolize abundance, accessibility, and dominance while ignoring the dark side of those values.
The Atlantic5 min readFashion & Beauty
How Tutus Took Over Runners’ Wardrobes
By mile nine, Kelly Lewis and her friends knew they were on to something. She and her pals Elise Wallace and Carrie Lundell had donned sparkly skirts that Lundell, a seamstress, had whipped up as a way to stand out while they ran the 2010 Surf City U
The Atlantic4 min readPolitics
Democrats Hope For Another Upset in Arizona
The Grand Canyon state’s 8th congressional district is unlikely to flip from red to blue, but a close race could still spell trouble for Republicans in November.