Skip To Content
Back to Opinion

Our Representatives Should Attend the Inauguration, and Support Our Institutions

Members of Congress like mine, should attend the Inauguration even if they, like me, believe the president-elect is not worthy of our respect because — and this is important — the peaceful transition of power in our nation is worthy of our respect.

President Obama has urged us in these last few days to ensure that our nation’s traditions and institutions are maintained even if the nontraditional president who is about to be sworn in seems to threaten them with his words and actions. These institutions are paramount: The ceremony celebrates the peaceful transition of power and not the president-elect.

There are other, more creative and effective ways to specifically resist the stated intentions of the president-elect than to boycott this ceremony. Members of Congress who are as appalled by different aspects of the president-elect — his misogyny, calls to register Muslims, plans to deport millions of Latinos or his anti-LGBT cabinet appointments — should think of creative ways of making themselves and our shared concerns visible on that inauguration platform. They are missing an opportunity to lead.

I know this position is not popular with many of my friends but if former presidents can attend this inauguration and my candidate of choice — his rival candidate for the presidency, Hillary Clinton — can attend, then members of Congress should attend as well.

Alan van Capelle is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Educational Alliance. Follow him on Twitter, @avancapelle

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning journalism this Passover. 

In this age of misinformation, our work is needed like never before. We report on the news that matters most to American Jews, driven by truth, not ideology.

At a time when newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall. That means for the first time in our 126-year history, Forward journalism is free to everyone, everywhere. With an ongoing war, rising antisemitism, and a flood of disinformation that may affect the upcoming election, we believe that free and open access to Jewish journalism is imperative.

Readers like you make it all possible. Right now, we’re in the middle of our Passover Pledge Drive and we need 500 people to step up and make a gift to sustain our trustworthy, independent journalism. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Our Goal: 500 gifts during our Passover Pledge Drive!

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.