E PLURIBUS UNUM (Out of many, one)
“In the eyes of many in the world, this every-four-year ceremony we accept as normal is nothing less than a miracle,” President Ronald Reagan said in his first inaugural address, exactly 40 years ago Wednesday.
Yet, this time, it took the deployment of 26,000 National Guard members and the installation of no-scale fencing around the U.S. Capitol to pull off the miracle.
The events of the past few weeks have shaken most, if not all, of us to the core. We witnessed in horror a deadly riot at the Capitol egged on by the outgoing president, Donald Trump. We listened as Congress debated the merits of impeaching that president for a second time, and we waded into furious arguments of our own on social media. Then we held our collective breath Wednesday as Joe Biden recited the oath of office as the nation’s 46th president.
This was anything but a peaceful transition of power.
So, then, what’s next? Will we stand united or fall, hopelessly divided by the misinformation of snake-oil salesmen and false prophets?
Our national symbol since 1782, the bald eagle, once faced grave uncertainty as well.
The pesticide DDT took the bald eagle to the brink of extinction in the 1960s. But conservation efforts enabled the bald eagle to rebound in such numbers that it was taken off the endangered species list in 2007.
Now, bald eagles are a familiar sight in the skies of Greene County, most notably in the areas around Squirrel Hollow, the Jefferson Community Golf Course and Dunbar Slough Wildlife Area.
The sight of one — fittingly, they seem to be most active this time of year — never gets old.
May we ever look upon our democratic ideals as dearly.