“Hail to the Chief we have chosen for the nation,
Hail to the Chief! We salute him, one and all.
Hail to the Chief, as we pledge cooperation
In proud fulfillment of a great, noble call.
Yours is the aim to make this grand country grander,
This you will do, is our strong, firm belief.
Hail to the one we selected as commander,
Hail to the President!
Hail to the Chief!”
At noon on Wednesday the 20th, the Marine Corps Band will play this rousing march simultaneously with the firing of twenty-one cannon rounds in formal salute to a new President. The song will be played again and again during the President’s term of office, and for a somber final time, slower, as a dirge, when his dead corpse honorably is laid to rest.
Is it all a lie? Do the American people truly “pledge coorporation” in the new President’s “great, noble call?” Do we really embrace a “strong, firm belief” that it is the President’s “aim to make this grand country grander?”
I have voted against Joe Biden every time his name has appeared on a national ballot. I am sorely disapointed in his election, and I share in the fears that recent election cycles have been marred by shenanigans and irregularities. Indeed, I detest many of Biden’s policy goals, and I worry that his leadership will further weaken our nation. Nevertheless, I cannot bring myself for a milisecond to consider Joe Biden’s presidency an “illegitimate” one, or to deny that he is “My President.”
For the past twenty years, political partisans of all stripes have slandered every President, whether Bush, Obama, Trump or, now, Biden, as “illegitimate.” Stop it! I admittedly am “old school,” but for me when an American says “So and So is not MY president; he is illegitimate,” he or she defames our Constitutional Republic itself and attacks the very foundation of American democracy. For me, it is the same or worse as the disrespect and dishonor shown to the Stars and Stripes which we’ve suffered over the past few years, from Colin Kapernick forward.
Last Sunday, my church congregation sang “the Heart of Worship;” which is a critique of the legitimacy of the worship we offer to God. One line of the song confesses “for a song in itself is not what’s required.”
Standing when the band plays “Ruffles and Flourishes” is not all that is required of patrotic Americans. Every four years we are called to affirm the legitimacy of our Constitutional government, and to embrace our “government of laws, not of men.” Although he was never my choice at the polls, my obligation is to accept Biden as “My President,” and to cooperate when possible as he tries to “make this grand country grander.” That is what a patriot does. You and I all owe Biden, as we did Trump, the benefit of the doubt. God help him, and God save America.
Submitted by Greg Snowden. He served 20 years representing Lauderdale and Clarke counties in the Legislature, the final eight of which he held the gavel as Speaker Pro Tempore. Snowden, a Republican, practices law with the Meridian firm of Barry, Thaggard & May.