So, we have a new president. As of January 20, 2021, Donald Trump is officially out of office, and the Biden/Harris Administration has taken control of the White House. Although this is a moment that the majority of us have likely been waiting for, the state of the world feels relatively the same. COVID is still the worst it’s ever been, and the threats of climate change and domestic terrorism in the form of white nationalism continue to loom large in our country. Luckily, Joe Biden isn’t ignorant to these truths. In fact, maintaining hope in the face of discrimination and misery seemed to be the theme of his entire inauguration on the 20th.
Like every event in the past 10 months, the inauguration was impacted by COVID and featured lots of social distancing (including Bernie Sanders separating himself from everyone, inspiring memes worldwide). There were also some fierce matching mask-to-coat looks from Michelle Obama, Dr. Jill Biden, and Vice President Kamala Harris, which were my personal highlight of the day. The inauguration featured performances and speeches by the likes of Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Amanda Gorman, and Garth Brooks, who himself is actually a known Republican. Brooks described his appearance at the event as “not a political act.” He was set to perform at Trump’s inauguration in 2016 but had to cancel due to scheduling conflicts.
Jennifer Lopez performed three songs, each with a touching message; “This Land is Your Land,” “America the Beautiful,” and a few lines from her own song, “Let’s get Loud.” Lopez also sang a line from the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance, in Spanish, which translated to, “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” The statement really resonated with fans, especially those with Latinx or other descent that causes them to feel underrepresented within politics.
Lady Gaga sang the national anthem with passion and strength, wearing a huge brass dove on her chest. Katy Perry sang her own anthem, “Firework,” at the Inauguration day’s Celebrating America performances on the evening of Jan. 20th. The most loved performance of the day, however, ended up being by 21 year old Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman. Gorman performed an original poem, The Hill We Climb, which called for “unity and collaboration and togetherness” in our country. The poem was outstandingly moving and impactful, and you must watch it if you haven’t already!
` Since his inauguration, Biden has accomplished a great deal. Although we are used to constant news and commotion coming out of the White House, our president has been quietly signing executive orders to repair the damage that Donald Trump caused during his term. In just the first few weeks, Biden has signed 42 executive orders, which have ranged in subject. However, they aim to do the same thing: protect all Americans against poverty, illness, and discrimination. Some of the biggest wins were rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement and reversing the Transgender Military Ban. He also enacted many policies surrounding COVID-19 control and social distancing regulations, which are obviously a large priority for the beginning of his presidency.
Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and their cabinet have already healed a few small wounds from the Trump presidency, but there is still much work to do. They must protect our planet and people, moving this country and world forward in the fight against climate change, bigotry, hate, and lies. It is important that we hold our leaders accountable; continue to demand inclusivity and progressiveness in their policies and actions. As Biden said in his inauguration speech:
Together, we shall write an American story of hope, not fear.
Of unity, not division.
Of light, not darkness.
An American story of decency and dignity.
Of love and of healing.
Of greatness and of goodness.
May this be the story that guides us.
The story that inspires us.
The story that tells ages yet to come that we answered the call of history.