Dan Rather Pens Pensive Essay on President Trump's Inauguration: "I Have Never Seen My Country So Divided, So Fearful"
"I have never seen an incoming president so preoccupied with responding to the understandable vagaries of dissent and seemingly unwilling to contend with the full weight and responsibilities of the most powerful job in the world."
In a pensive essay posted Friday morning, Rather reflected on the "simmering ache of dread" that Inauguration Day has brought upon the nation.
"Of the nearly 20 inaugurations I can remember, there has never been one that felt like today. Not even close. Never mind the question of the small size of the crowds, or the boycott by dozens of lawmakers, or even the protest marches slated for tomorrow across the country," he wrote. "What is truly unprecedented in my mind is the sheer magnitude of quickening heartbeats in millions of Americans."
He continued, "I have never seen my country on an inauguration day so divided, so anxious, so fearful, so uncertain of its course. ... I have never seen an incoming president so preoccupied with responding to the understandable vagaries of dissent and seemingly unwilling to contend with the full weight and responsibilities of the most powerful job in the world."
The former CBS News anchor went on to note that he hopes Trump's new position of power "might change him."
"Perhaps, as he stood there on a grey, drab, January day, reciting the solemn oath of office demanded by our Constitution, as he looked out across what Charles Dickens once called the 'city of magnificent intentions', he would somehow grasp the importance of what he was undertaking," Rather's post read. "Perhaps he would understand that he must be the president of all the United States, in action as well as in word."
Rather went into description about Trump's inaugural address, describing his actions at the podium as defensive and unfitting of America's new leader.
"Mr. Trump's delivery was staccato and there was very little eye contact as he seemed to be reading carefully from a teleprompter. His words and tone were angry and defiant. He is still in campaign mode and nary a whiff of a unifying spirit," he wrote, continuing to paint a picture of the scene.
"The applause was sparse, and I imagine many more being turned off, even sickened, rather than inspired by what our new President had to say. President Obama looked on with an opaque poker face. One could only imagine what he was thinking."
Rather ended his essay by noting that "our democracy demands debate and dissent" and that a tide of opposition would likely be forthcoming.
"These are the swirling currents about our ship of state. We now have a new and untested captain. His power is immense, but it is not bestowed from a divinity on high. It is derived, as the saying goes, from the consent of the governed," he concluded. "That means President Trump now works for us — all of us. And if he forgets that, it will be our duty to remind him."
Read the full post here.