Shortly after noon Friday, the United States of America will have a new president, its 45th, when Donald J. Trump takes the oath of office.
His most important assignment, one that will seem nearly impossible to the denizens of social media, is to unite the country.
Those who spent the past eight years opposing President Barack Obama can help the new president by admitting Obama performed the duties of the president well, sometimes outstandingly, in some very trying times.
We know that for all his accomplishments and his high approval rating, one fact remains — Obama was not able to significantly unify this country.
But if Obama’s critics, in the waning minutes of his presidency, can find it in their hearts to give him a simple thank-you for his service to America, that would put their man, Trump, in a much better position as he puts his hand on the Bible.
And when Trump has taken that oath, has solemnly sworn “to support and defend the Constitution of the United States,” he will be the president of us all. The Hillary Clinton supporter. The Bernie Sanders supporter. The supporters of all the Republicans he bettered in the primaries.
You don’t have to love him, or like him, but you have to respect the office he will hold. Because if the office of the president loses the respect of the people, we will cease to be the country the Founders envisioned.
We are not asking you to be blind followers. We are asking you to put your hatred aside.
We are not asking you to support all his initiatives. We are asking you to refrain from obstructionism for obstruction’s sake, to offer your support when you are in agreement.
And most of all, we are not asking you to be silent. If you disagree with one of his proposals, it is your duty to add your voice to the opposition. Civilly.
Because civility is the ingredient long absent from our politics.
Yes, we know the president-elect often has been far from civil in his criticism of opponents.
After he is sworn in, Trump will make his first speech as president.
If he shows he has risen above the pettiness of the 2016 campaign, then there is hope he can be a uniter.
And so we hope.
The editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions of columnists and cartoonists are their own.
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.