The entire world was watching in anticipation and filled with questions about what would become of the 46th president of the United States, Joe Biden, when he was sworn into office on Jan. 20, 2021. As Americans, no matter your political affiliation, this is a proud day in our democracy; another peaceful transfer of power in which one administration stepped down and allowed for a new party to come into office.
Watching the inauguration, there were many noticeable differences to Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2016, the most important of which was the lack of Americans in attendance. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, crowds were not allowed to gather on the lawn outside the Capitol. Where there used to be millions of proud Americans, standing and braving the cold winter weather in order to support their president, there was now an empty field. Instead, the National Mall lawn was filled with flags in order to represent those who could not attend. President-elect Joe Biden’s inaugural committee shared that “the display reflects a ‘commitment to an inclusive and safe event that everyone can enjoy from their home. It is part of the inaugural theme of ‘America United.’” Watching the newly elected president and his family attend the “parade” through the streets was odd sight and gave an eerie feel to viewers because the streets were empty, besides the military stationed around.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still being a major issue in the U.S., it was very odd to watch the inauguration. Although it was unsafe for proud Americans to gather, it was seemingly fine for politicians and celebrities to gather on top of the Capitol. Although they were wearing masks, politicians and elites were seen hugging, laughing and generally being right on top of each other in order to celebrate Biden’s inauguration. Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez were able to bring their loved ones on stage; however, middle-class Americans were forced to sit at home and watch. Furthermore, the same politicians who forced lockdowns upon their own constituents, killing small businesses, were present at the celebration.
One of the controversial aspects of the event was the notable absence of former President Donald Trump. He and Melania officially departed from the White House earlier in the morning on the day of the inauguration, flying to Mar-a-Lago; however, they did not leave before leaving President Biden a letter in the oval office. President Biden commented on the letter to reporters calling it a “very generous letter,” but explaining that he intended to speak to Trump before publicly commenting on it because of how private it was. Former President Trump, however, is not the first president to choose to be absent for the new administration’s inauguration. According to the New York Times, Former Presidents John Adam, John Quincy Adams and Andrew Johnson all did not attend their successors’ inaugurations due to being “bitterly at odds with those who unseated them.” Former President Trump stated that his reason for not attending President Biden’s inauguration was due to the fact that he and his 74 million passionate supporters truly believe that the election was stolen and that Biden did not win. No matter anyone’s opinion on this subject, his absence was felt and could set a precedent for future presidents.
Fashion was also a hot topic of discussion after the inauguration, as former First Lady Michelle Obama’s outfits were highlighted, new First Lady Jill Biden’s blue coat was a hit and performers Lady Gaga and Jenifer Lopez were also popular amongst viewers. The First Lady wore a light blue, and ivory coat and dress, similar to what former First Lady Melania Trump wore at the 2016 Inauguration. Magazines across the nation were infatuated with her fashion choices, with Vanity Fair’s article titled, “Fashion Diplomacy Returns at Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s Inauguration,” clearly proving their left wing bias as they show their double standard when it comes to former First Lady Melania Trump.
Overall, the most highlighted moment of the inauguration was the highly anticipated speech from the newly sworn in president. President Biden’s speech was definitely a strong start to his presidency. From an annotation of his speech, provided by NPR, President Biden said, “This is a great nation. We are good people. And over the centuries through storm and strife, in peace and in war, we’ve come so far. But we still have far to go. We’ll press forward with speed and urgency for we have much to do in this winter of peril and significant possibilities. Much to repair, much to restore, much to heal, much to build, and much to gain.”
The 21-minute long speech was very similar to Biden’s long history of speeches. It was filled with the idea of hope, unity and coming together as Americans. Specifically, Biden made it a point to speak about the recent riots in the Capitol, saying: “And here we stand just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work of our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground. It did not happen.”
In the upcoming first 100 days of the Biden administration, this speech will be referenced to see if he is able to accomplish “unity.” Republicans are asking him to request that Congress immediately shut down the impeachment trial of former President Trump as his first sect of unity and instead focus on pandemic relief.
Americans all over the country should be proud because a peaceful transfer of power is necessary in order to protect the idea of a democracy and ensure that the people’s will is trusted and followed. Free and fair elections are essential to the United States, and with President Joe Biden being sworn in as the 46th president, he deserves the respect and gratitude that comes with the most powerful office.