Each one reminds us what a peaceful—and gracious—transfer of power looks like.
Story by Alex Kalman
One of the most crucial aspects of a functioning democracy is the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next. Each of the following five letters, handwritten by an outgoing president and left in the Oval Office for the incoming president to find, reminds us of the sanctity of that fundamental practice. Reagan wrote to Bush. Bush wrote to Clinton. Clinton to Bush. Bush to Obama. And Obama to Trump. Regardless of the party. Regardless of personal beliefs.
As the country waits for the sitting president—and many of his political allies—to acknowledge the results of last week’s election and begin the transition process in partnership with President-elect Joe Biden, we are again reminded of Donald Trump’s dangerously anti-democratic instincts. The authors of these letters provide something that Trump has never been able to: evidence of their understanding that they are part of something larger than themselves, serving the country’s citizens as participants in the American experiment.