We have to end this uncivil war that pits Reds [Republicans] against Blues [Democrats], the countryside against the cities, the cities against the countryside, conservatives against the leftists. With those words of unity, Joe Biden began his Presidency today. The Democrat has sworn by hand on a huge Bible owned by his family for 127 years and the oath has been administered by Chief Justice John Roberts.
He said them after swearing-in on the steps of the Capitol, the building that exactly two weeks ago the followers of his predecessor Donald Trump had stormed, in an unprecedented episode in the history of the country in which five people died. Although Biden did not explicitly refer to the attack and Trump’s refusal to accept his defeat in the November 3 elections, he did so indirectly when he had barely a minute and ten seconds into the speech and gave another of the defining phrases of it. At this time, my friends, democracy has prevailed. This is a great nation, of good people and we have to build, much to heal, and much to gain. We will defeat white supremacist and domestic terrorism, he added.
It was an indirect reference to what has become America’s greatest political crisis in the last 165 years. A crisis that, although not mentioned, hung over the ceremony like snowflakes on a cold January morning in Washington. The most obvious was who was not in the Capital. Trump was not there. And the hundreds of thousands of people who always congregate at these events were not there. Biden spoke to a small number of personalities and to a portion of the 25,000 soldiers deployed in Washington to protect him from Trump’s most extreme supporters. For that reason, there was no audience. And for that reason, Biden couldn’t help but remember that democracy is fragile. And attack, although without naming him, his predecessor, by saying that “we have suffered an attack on democracy and the truth.The entire speech was, in the words of the former director of communications for the National Security Council with Barack Obama and now president of the consultancy Global Situation Room, Brett Bruen, an appeal to Americans who feel abandoned by the system. Biden tried to believe again in that system, in the democratic process. But it is a difficult goal to achieve. I will be the president of all Americans, he said.
Trump has broken 180 years of tradition by not attending the handover, although his vice president, Mike Pence, did. The former president left Washington in the morning alone. His party leaders had abandoned him to the point of avoiding saying goodbye to him and instead of going to a church service with Biden at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in downtown Washington to pray to God for unity from the country. In the groups of Trump’s followers on the Telegram messaging service and on the social networks Donald. win and Gab, a clear sense of abandonment was perceived after the leader had limited himself to getting on the plane and leaving without launching, in the last minute, he always announced and never made a wave of arrests against traitors of the United States.
The Democrat welcomed the presence of his predecessors – among whom was not Donald Trump, who is already in Florida. Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama did attend the Capitol ceremony.
But, although demoralized by the defeat and by the attitude of Trump, who instead of resisting the alleged coup, has peacefully retired to his country club in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, the sector of public opinion American backing him still won’t accept Biden. It has been four years of fierce confrontation since the former president announced, on this same staircase, on January 20, 2017, that with him he was going to end the carnage of the United States in which the wealth of the middle class has been looted and distributed all over the world.
There was only one passing reference to foreign policy when he proclaimed that we will repair our alliances and re-engage the world again. But the tone of the message was enough for US allies, especially in Europe, to greet the relief at the White House. Biden shares with the EU values that Trump is only perceived as impositions from abroad or the philosophy of political correctness.
It is those 74 million Trump voters that Biden tried to reach out to over and over again. The tone and manner of the 22 minutes of his speech were in stark contrast to the 17 minutes of Donald Trump’s. But they also remembered that of Barack Obama in his inauguration, when he arrived promising unity. With the less oratorical ability, Biden came to say the same. This is our historical moment of crisis and challenge, and unity is the only way forward, he stressed, in a speech loaded with religious references and to President Abraham Lincoln, who presided over the United States in its darkest hours, when the South made secession to maintain slavery.
But Obama left leaving a country split into two halves that hate and despise each other. Biden picks up on a nation trapped in a civil war rhetoric, a politics based on identity – race, gender, and even place of residence – that he, despite his rhetoric today, has exploited by choosing a non-woman. Blanca is vice president and dividing her cabinet by racial, gender, and sexual orientation quotas.
As the Harvard economics professor and analyst at the American Enterprise Institute think tank, Stan Veuger, explains to Philsportsnews.com, we will have to wait and see if Biden and Harris are capable of repairing the carnage in the United States left by the Trump government.
The ceremony took place in an empty Capital than usual due to the security measures imposed by Covid-19. More dramatic has been the total absence of public from the Mall, the larger park that occupies the center of the US capital, Washington. It has been, to a large extent, a virtual event, although not without the traditional color that Americans give to this type of event. Before Kamla Harris was sworn in, singer Lady Gaga performed the US national anthem, and just minutes before Biden did, Jennifer Lopez did the same with This Land is Your Land. Lopez also briefly addressed the audience in Spanish language in the middle of his performance.