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Inauguration Day Reflections on Democracy with Nancy Ridenour

I had the wonderful opportunity to experience our democracy in action.  I obtained tickets to the 2013 Presidential Inauguration.  Senators Schumer and Alexander, representing the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, both reminded the crowd that the peaceful transfer of power is the hallmark of our form of government.  I turned and looked at the crowd behind me and felt the power of those words.  For as far as I could see—all the way from the Capitol to the Washington Monument, the National Mall was filled with people participating in the Inauguration.

This was a profound moment for me as I reflected on my experiences while working in the Middle East and whispered words of hope for my colleagues in Egypt and Syria.  Peaceful transfer of power provides the stability and safety for us to achieve our full potential.  This intense moment of realization of how privileged we are to be participants in democracy was worth the pre-dawn hours going through security and withstanding eight hours in below freezing weather.

The RWJ Health Policy Collaborative provides profound opportunities for us to study, understand, participate, and guide the health policy of our nation.  This gift to nursing reminds us of our responsibility to pay forward to insure that the policies of our nation really do improve and support the health of our people.

In addition to personal insights, the ceremony included Myrlie Evers-Williams, The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, James Taylor, Kelly Clarkson, Richard Blanco, and of course Beyoncé.  (Oh, that we all could lip-synch as masterfully!!!)

I learned some technical things from this experience as well.  Because of security, it is difficult to be seated for the Inaugural Ceremonies and to get through security for the Parade as well.  One is faced with doing one or the other, but not both.  Luckily, the Parade went right by the neighborhood I lived in while working on the Hill, so I knew of some places where we could observe the Parade without being admitted to the Parade route.  Each state is represented in the Parade, with the Navajo Nation Band making New Mexico very proud!!

Another thing I learned is each state sponsors a state inaugural ball.  It was great fun to see Barb and JR Damron at the NM State Ball.  We had the opportunity to talk with the Congressional delegation, Senate and House staffers, and folks who work for NM in Washington.

I recommend that you begin planning now to attend the Inauguration 4 years from now.  The NM Congressional delegation oversees the distribution of the tickets allocated to NM.  I was able to secure two tickets from the NM delegation.  It is important for the delegation to know our work and how we can facilitate the work of health policy.  Plan now how you will be involved in our democracy.