Presidential Inaugurals are supposed to be celebrations of a new start, fresh beginnings—-sometimes even historic moments.

That was the case in 2008 when the nation chose its first black President.

Another historic moment is upon us when the 45th president, Donald T. Trump, will be sworn in amidst controversy over his election that outweighs the event itself.

No time in memory have at least 50 members of Congress decided to boycott this ritual ceremony which typically symbolizes the peaceful passing of the torch regardless of which party takes control.

Perhaps no time in history have so many questions been raised about the qualifications of the individual taking the oath.

And never in modern history has the character of the man about to become the free world’s most powerful leader been rightly or wrongly so impugned.

His most ardent backers can protest the steady pounding which Trump is getting in the press but none can deny that he set the terms of engagement when he announced his plans to run by attacking the birthright of the man he will replace.

That accusation was finally rescinded but not before the institution of the presidency itself which has survived strong and weak leaders, scandals and impeachments, and been a source of stability through two world wars and many lesser ones has come under a cloud.

Just as every one of his predecessors, Trump is not merely being empowered to guide the complex affairs of the nation. He is, though briefly, entrusted with something equally important—maintaining respect for the office of the presidency!

Partisanship has been built into our political DNA and is not going to disappear regardless of the obligatory calls for unity when the whole basis for having fair and open elections with fiercely competing opponents are because of profound disagreements in how things are being run.

These will not be somehow magically resolved with the coming of each new White House occupant nor should they be.

It is in the nature of a democracy that we will continue to argue and protest and get angry when the exercise of voting—among the most sacred of our freedoms—result in outcomes not to the liking of millions.

The bigger issues surrounding this particular inauguration are the means by which this administration has seized power. Aside from running a masterful campaign that many observers of all political stripes have likened more to a carnival act, questions linger as to whether a foreign power—Russia—meddled in the election process and if there was complicity between high Russian officials and members of Trump’s team and even Trump himself.

There is also the matter of FBI Director, James Comey’s, last minute damning disclosures about Hillary Clinton’s email problems that did not warrant further legal action and which he subsequently was forced to retract.

These are among the troublesome issues that brought the curtain down on a messy, ugly presidential campaign with no parallel in modern times.

Still there are few clear-eyed Democrats or sympathetic Republicans who will argue that these factors alone were responsible for Trump’s victory.

Even if there were serious improprieties as evidence suggests that further investigations may determine to be true, the election cannot be undone. But this presidency could be imperiled before it begins.

President Trump is not going to unite a fractious, bitterly divided populace not soon or perhaps ever.

Attacking iconic civil rights figures such as Rep. John Lewis for questioning the legitimacy of his presidency which some in Trump’s own Republican Party are also thinking though not articulating will do little to ease tensions.

Trump has shown no moral compass whatsoever, and there is little reason to think he will go through a personality change just to assuage those he has spent years defiling. He has gotten away thus far with just being Trump. So why change?

But a Machiavellian mindset is always looking at options.

If as a means of consolidating his rule, Trump is persuaded by calmer heads of the wisdom of invoking the considerable moral authority of the office rather than engaging in non-stop self-aggrandizement, some of his sworn adversaries might believe it advantageous to seek accommodations where possible.

Trump is past forgiveness, does not think he needs it and is not looking for it. He has the certitude that winners always have.

However, he will only prevail in what he seeks to accomplish as all presidents eventually learn within the limits imposed upon him by Congress, the courts, the Constitution and the laws.

Most of all he is constrained by the will of the people who can just as quickly change their minds when their leaders become irresponsible, or ignore minimal standards of decency that threatens the sanctity of the office.

President Obama leaves the job as he came in—admired by many, resented by others and tormented by some, who did not share his undimmed vision of a more inclusive America and opposed his politics and policies as was their right.

But his decency was never questioned and he did nothing that will stain his legacy or that can be said to have besmirched the institution. In eight years he conducted a scandal-free presidency and that counts for something in an age when the term moral relativism has taken on new and dangerous meaning.

All that said, Trump will have the chance to prove his detractors wrong. If he is as clever as he has made himself out to be, the future does not have to be as hopeless as the millions who tuned out of this Inaugural are imagining.