Inauguration comes from the ancient Roman inauguratio, a ceremony during which augurs consulted the heavens and watched the flight patterns of birds for omens. If the priest taking the auspices observed favorable signs, the inauguratio was completed.
Augurs would seek guidance from the gods before any public act was executed — the appointment and inauguration of a magistrate; decisions in the people’s assembly; advancement of campaigns – and they would only proceed if the auspices were favorable.
Augurs were susceptible to bribes and political motivation, though, and would sometimes provide a false interpretation of the omens. The augurs didn’t have final say, and it was up to the magistrate to execute plans in alignment with the auspices provided by the augurs.
Politicians and augurs who proceeded under unfavorable auspices did so at their own peril, and the people they governed suffered.
We don’t need to consult the gods or observe the heavens to know that today the leadership of our nation has changed hands under unfavorable auspices. Never has there been a new president so reviled by his country before he even crosses the White House threshold.
Trump is not guided by anything but his own interests. He doesn’t look at our country and see what we need. He doesn’t listen and hear what we want. He flips open his wallet and asks how he can make it fatter. He looks in the mirror and asks how he can become more powerful.
Our new president doesn’t care about favorable auspices. Trump worships money and vanity – these are his gods. Unless we feed his wallet or his ego, we suffer.
Traditionally, only patricians (members of the ruling class) were permitted to be augurs. Later, when the number of augurs required increased, plebians (members of the lower classes) could become augurs as well. When this happened, opportunities for the Populares (a political party that favored the commoners, particularly the urban poor) to gain equal footing with the ruling class grew.
We will not be offered a seat at Trump’s table. We must crash the party, dance on the buffet, and kick the patricians out of their seats.
No one is coming to rescue us from what we’ve done to our country. But, we have guidance on how to fix it, because we’ve been here before.
We didn’t start out with all the rights we had almost had threw out the window in 2016.
The Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights gave us a starter house. The house contained the basics – somewhere to sleep, somewhere to cook, and an outhouse. As our minds and hearts grew as a country, we started adding on rooms. Sometimes we accidentally knocked out a load bearing wall, but we went right back in there and propped it up so we could keep building. Sometimes we got ahead of the construction materials available and built a room that wouldn’t stay up. Pretty much, since 1776, we’ve continuously made upgrades to our house.We still have the construction manuals for those old rooms on the first floor. It’s time to dust… Click To Tweet
Today we signed a contract with a shoddy contractor. The laborers he’s brought with him are inexperienced. They’re going to knock down bearing walls and take a jackhammer to the foundation — they don’t know how to fix things without first destroying them. They’re going to tear apart some rooms because they don’t like the curtains. I don’t know what will be left of our home this time next year. Will we even have the starter house we were given?
Looking to the future – to the beyond Trump if we survive him future – is too much to ask.
We need to focus first on shoring up the walls we already have.
I’ve thought long and hard about what my contribution toward this effort might be. It’s left me feeling overwhelmed. There is SO much need and only so much of me to go around. I’ve really been floundering with this because I am by nature a fixer. I want to solve all of the problems.
I’m starting small, with just two things – food and historical activism.
Access to safe food and clean water is a basic human right which is threatened by Trump’s administration. Given some of the economic policies bandied about by Trump & Co., more people will be experiencing food insecurity over the next four years. I’ll be working on that issue locally right now, before Something Bad Happens.
On activism: I’ve seen the kind that lives on Facebook — lots of keyboard warriors and boycotters and petition sharers (hell, I’ve been those in the past). What I’m NOT seeing is the kind of leadership that gets shit done. I don’t even know what that kind of leadership looks like and I suspect a lot of others don’t, either. This isn’t a knock against anyone, but rather a commentary on how (relatively) easy we’ve had it over the last 30ish years.Looking to the future – to the beyond Trump if we survive him future – is too much to ask. Click To Tweet
So, I’m going to dust off the history books and learn more about the people who did get shit done (like, dig deeper than their Wikipedia entry learn), and share what I’ve learned with you. Naturally, I’ll be bringing these amazing people to life in yarn.
We don’t need to go all the way back to consulting augurs to decide how to move forward. Simply recognizing that this is bigger than any one person, bigger than me, bigger than you, is enough. Taking a tour through history to remind myself that we have overcome This Thing, and that we are capable of doing it again, is a good foundation to build on.
We still have the construction manuals for those old rooms on the first floor. It’s time to dust them off and grab a hammer.