WASHINGTON, D.C. - The peaceful transfer of power from one president to the next is the cornerstone of American democracy. As divisive as this past election season was, it's more important now than ever to keep that in mind. One local resident got the opportunity to experience that grand transition firsthand.
For the past six years, Lorie Johnson has served as the Chairman of the Cherokee County Kansas Republican Party. Through the work done under her leadership, with the county and state GOP efforts, she's been able to reach a lot of people. Her efforts paid off this past Friday, as she was present in Washington, D.C. for the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States of America.
"We were humbled to learn that Virginia Macha had submitted our name to the director of the Trump campaign in Kansas for tickets to the inauguration events because of our work within the party," Johnson said.
While in the nation's capitol, Lorie got to visit some of our country's most historic landmarks. She said there were several moments that will become cherished memories for years, but one in particular that truly moved her.
"Watching the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns is the most humbling experience an American will ever witness," she said. "The finale of the 'Make America Great Again' concert was fantastic. Watching the then President and Vice-President elects and their families stand on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial with beautiful fireworks bursting above and The Battle Hymn of the Republic being played for the entire city to hear was something we will never forget."
The election cycle this past year was tumultuous and threatened to divide the nation. Tensions are still high across the nation, and only a few days into Trump's presidency there is no shortage of controversy. Lorie got the chance, however, to see firsthand that things might not be as ruptured as they sometimes seem.
"Witnessing the peaceful transfer of power from Obama to Trump during the swearing in ceremony was a great reminder of just how blessed we are as a nation," she said. "President Obama knew that he was handing over the presidency to a man who is his polar opposite, yet as with all transfers of power before him, he peacefully let the will of the people prevail. It is a process many other nations only dream of. Finally, and perhaps a little selfishly, the excitement and awe of being just a few feet away from the President, Vice President and their families at the inaugural ball while they shared the historical dance was a fantastic end to this historic election season. The feeling of victory and a renewed sense of hope for our country was certainly sweet."
Lorie has stepped down from her position as Chairman for the local Republican Party this year. She will still remain active in the group, serving as Treasurer, but gave up the leadership position due to the dichotomous nature of modern identity politics.
"I stepped down as chair because I felt a like I've had to support individuals running for office simply because they were in my party and I was chair, and I also was not a big fan of remaining neutral during primaries," she said. "Both of those things really defeated my purpose of getting the absolute best people in office. President Trump's inaugural address really hit home for me. People in both parties have lost their way. Republicans in Congress have not fought against the massive violations of our Constitution. Democrats have grown our government so large that our children's children will be paying for our stupidity. We have to stop. We have to have the courage to stand up to those in our own party. We have to stop growing government on the backs of hardworking Americans. We both left with a renewed energy to stand up for the founding principles that make this country the best in the world, regardless of party."