Commentary Magazine


Contentions

The Peaceful Transfer of Power Is No Small Thing

In watching C-SPAN’s coverage of the election of John Boehner as Speaker of the House, it’s worth recalling what is often overlooked: the peaceful transfer of political power from one party to another is an amazing achievement. By now it is commonplace, of course; the ballot is stronger than the bullet, Lincoln said; and for Americans, this choice has long since been made. But for much of human history, including in many countries in the world today, the loss of political power is accompanied by violence and bloodshed. To watch the proceedings today — the votes, ceremony, and formality; the milling around, side conversations, and even the looks of boredom — is to be reminded that this nation and its form of government is, as Gladstone said of the U.S. Constitution, “the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.”

Sometimes the normalcy and routine nature of events hide just how extraordinary they are.



Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.