The Washington Mall will be closed during the inauguration. As someone who has made many trips to the Capitol and D.C. and has attended three inaugurations, I find this disheartening, although I agree with the decision.

How has this country gotten to what seems like its lowest point? We have had controversial elections before, but civility was evident. A few days before Bill Clinton’s second inauguration, my then-eighth grade daughter asked why we weren’t going to the inauguration. I explained that you had to have tickets. At that point I promised her that no matter who was elected in 2000, we would go.

Fast forward to the Bush-Gore election. As a Democrat I wasn’t happy with the outcome, but I promised. Through Sen. Susan Collins, we received tickets. I pointed out that it didn’t matter if our candidate won, we were celebrating the peaceful transfer of power.

We stood in the sleet and rain, cheered George Bush and my kids learned a lesson. They still talk about our rides on the Capitol trolley and lunch in the House of Representatives cafeteria, where we saw Texans with their boots and Stetsons with rain bonnets! We wondered: If George Mitchell ever became president, would we go to Washington with our oilskins, hip boots and sou’westers?

Now, I wonder if “we the people” will ever attend another inauguration. I am sad and mad; the possibility shakes at the core of our republic.

The division and derision in this country have to stop.

Donna Miller Damon
Chebeague Island

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