Happy New Year, everyone! For me, the year 2021 started at noon today, when Joe Biden and Kamala Harris took their oaths of office. They swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America, and unlike another individual who took that oath, I genuinely believe they meant it. I am filled with joy, and I believe history will show that on this day, America began its turn away from the darkness and toward the light.
(Of course, the darkness is still out there. The white supremacists and QAnon and the delusional conspiracy theorists, the liars and the fear-mongers, they are still with us; they have just been stilled for a little while. But it has always been so. If the price of peace is eternal vigilance, then we must continue to pay that price.)
It’s hard to say what stirred me the most: Biden’s call for us to come together in humility rather than self-aggrandizement; the swearing in of Kamala Harris and all the “firsts” she represents; the sight of all those former presidents, each of whom willingly and graciously transferred the power of office to their successor; or the vision of Amanda Gorman, the remarkable young woman who served as inaugural poet. I was even moved by Lady Gaga singing the national anthem, a startling sight that.
While it was sobering and sad to see the nation’s capitol closed down under the watchful eyes of the National Guard, there was a definite poignancy in watching the proceedings move forward in spite of the attempted coup. As President Biden said, our democracy is fragile, but it is also strong, and it prevailed. I pray that it will continue to do so in the days to come.