Come 12:01 a.m. Saturday morning, assuming all goes according to plan, the Secret Service will have accomplished two great feats of American exceptionalism. They’ll have successfully protected the country’s first black president and his family for more than nine years, and they’ll have guaranteed the peaceful handover of power.
These successes should not be taken for granted. Each year, the president and his family receive thousands of threats. The majority are not meant seriously. But a significant minority are credible and require careful investigation. After all, while some wannabe attackers do not pose a significant risk, others do. Ignoring those threats, Secret Service protection of funerals would typify American democracy alongside its protection of campaign festivals.