In the hours before the live telecast of Joe Biden’s inauguration as the 46th President of the United States, some people may have been hit by a few unlikely comparisons.
In the “world’s oldest democracy,” political feuds had recently colored the air, and on Wednesday night, we, the people in democratic Philippines, may have also seen a few skirmishes on television that bordered on feuds, among individuals who locked horns about manner, principle and belief — or about how to keep one’s decency intact at a time of great, invisible chaos.
But let’s focus on Donald Trump, and how the outgoing US President left the White House to make his own farewells to the tune of “My Way” — in this way ignoring his successor’s inaugural ceremonies, “the first president to snub his successor’s inauguration since 1869,” BBC says.
Trump, it was noted in CNN commentaries, did not even mention Biden’s name in the speech he made as he was leaving the White House.
“I wish the new administration great luck and great success,” he said.
The behavior was not lost on netizens.
“As I always tell my kids, how you exit any situation says a lot about you. Always go out with class and elegance and manners. So disappointing that no one in Trump family, not one person stood up to show up to honor their country tomorrow. That is a disgrace,” Maria Schriver (@mariaschriver) tweeted.
Some noted Trump’s niece, Mary, commenting, “This is the worst day of his life.” She also said she was “happy to see the back of him.”
Trump is the kind of man who elicits strong reactions, and we are not totally unfamiliar with such a personality.
His presidency was marked by many accomplishments, yes, but sadly he “will be remembered as the first president to be impeached twice,” BBC said in another article.
“He fed the myth that the election was stolen, summoned his supporters to Washington to protest the certification of the Electoral College vote, told them that only through strength could they take back their country, and stood by as they stormed the US Capitol and interfered in the operation of constitutional government.
“When historians write about his presidency, they will do so through the lens of the riot,” it added.
Biden’s win was a sure sign of the Americans’ desire for change. What also brought Trump down was his refusal to take the Covid-19 seriously, which many believe cost the lives of over 400,000.
These coronavirus deaths were honored by Biden before he made his way to the White House.
But this is not why the inauguration of the new US President and Vice President Kamala Harris would “be unlike any other in American history,” as ABC News put it.
First, a high point of the proceedings was VP Harris, hand on Bible, taking her oath of office.
Harris, according to a story on CNN, “will stand as one, but she will bring 10,000,” quoting Glynda Carr, “the president and CEO of Higher Heights for America, paraphrasing the late poet Maya Angelou.”
It further said: “She’s a woman. She’s a woman of color. She’s a Black woman, a daughter of immigrants. She belongs to a historically Black Greek Letter organization. She went to a historically Black college,” Carr said.
A young poet, Amanda Gorman, tweeted: “I am not missing out on the symbolism that I am the youngest inaugural poet — and Black and female at that — while the first female, woman of color vice president is being sworn in.” (@TheAmandaGorman).
Like other firsts in the US event, the 22-year-old Gorman is the first youth poet laureate who delivered a poem at the inauguration that resounded among so many. She was named Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles at the age of 16.
Her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” begins like this: “When day comes, we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade? The loss we carry, a sea we must wade. We’ve braved the belly of the beast, we’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace and the norms and notions of what just is, isn’t always justice. And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it, somehow we do it, somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken but simply unfinished.”