Inaugurations Are More Than a Hail to the (New) Chief
How This Enduring Ritual Highlights the Strengths—and Tensions—that Define the American Presidency
On Jan. 20, tens of millions of people will watch the pomp and spectacle of a uniquely American tradition. The hushed politicos in the pews of prayer service, the gleaming marching band brass on parade, the holy men and women delivering solemn invocations, the tuxes and gowns dancing their way through evening balls. And, of course, the next president of the United States of America, right hand up, left hand on the Bible, being sworn in for the highest office of the most powerful nation on the planet.
Yet all …