Reflections on Inauguration Day

Why I'll be one of an expected 50,000 people marching in Seattle tomorrow.

I have friends and family on both sides of our political divide–some are as elated by this election as I remember being in 2008.  I wrote this letter to share my thinking on this Inauguration Day with my work colleagues at Forterra, in real time if you will.  Our communications staff then asked to post it. I agreed with the understanding it’s the thoughts of one person at the start of this new administration.

A message to my friends and colleagues at Forterra on inauguration day.

Well friends, we have now had our 44th back-to-back peaceful transfer of power, to the 45th occupant of our Nation’s Presidential Office. We are six weeks shy of two centuries and twenty years since Washington handed the reigns to Adams. No coups, no assassinations by the opposition, no revolutions; but, yes, one immensely bloody civil war with scars still raw over 150 years later. Still, it is a remarkable history. I think unique in Western society.

Moreover, for me it is a reaffirmation that regardless of government, we, the people, remain committed to a more inclusive and democratic society, a healthier planet and a more just world.

Admittedly, I am ambivalent today. I celebrate the resiliency of our democracy, but I am apprehensive that we will hold to our core values. Tomorrow, I expect to walk in the local march, with no illusions about its impact. My style has never been to storm the ramparts. I am an engineer after all. But, I think this march is different in many ways. Moreover, for me it is a reaffirmation that regardless of government, we, the people, remain committed to a more inclusive and democratic society, a healthier planet and a more just world.

That said, it is only the first full day of the next 4 years, which hardly signifies. I will be thinking during my walking that I cannot close my mind to good ideas and valid policies that may be proffered by the new administration. At the same time, I may need to be more assertive in my opposition to policies I vehemently disagree with that may come forward. I also need to commit myself to never accept the erosion of either our society’s social contract with its government, or our cherished individual civil rights.

I know all of you also have been thinking about how to engage in the years ahead and you have my enthusiastic encouragement. Meanwhile, I will work hard to thoughtfully and gratefully participate in our democracy.

The next four years will require all of us to be perceptive of what is real news; what is factual and what is not. It also may require us to me more politically active than many of us ever have been. These obligations of citizenship always have been expected of us of course. It is the circumstances now that bring them into sharper relief.

With our collective, resolute focus and robust commitment to the greater good, I look forward to celebrating the 46th peaceful transfer of power, no matter how these four years turn out and no matter who the future next president may be. I know all of you also have been thinking about how to engage in the years ahead and you have my enthusiastic encouragement. Meanwhile, I will work hard to thoughtfully and gratefully participate in our democracy.

Onwards,

Gene

  • Gene Duvernoy

    Gene Duvernoy is President of Forterra. He’s spent more than 30 years working on land conservation and building community, founding Forterra in 1989 in his attic. Since then he’s led the organization to national prominence by creating bold, innovative and successful programs that improve the quality of life for all residents.
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