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I didn’t think we’d make it to today without further incident. Three Wednesdays before this, the world witnessed an insurrection incited by the president of the United States. The Wednesday after that, said president was being impeached in a most bi-partisan effort and this Wednesday, a new president has been successfully inaugurated as the next president of the United States of America, President Joe Biden, alongside him the first African American, Asian American, Woman Vice President, Kamala Devi Harris sworn in by the first Latina Justice in the country, Justice Sotomayor. Three Wednesdays that shaped history and defined the course for the new administration. After the uprising it seemed sensible that the inaugurating of Joe Biden take place via zoom and we call it a day, but as with everything American, because they are a country of utmost patriotism, the show went on. Like it did three Wednesdays ago during the insurrection when Congress reconvened to carry out its legislative business of certifying the vote that makes him the 46th president of the United States of America.
As I type this, I take a big sigh of relief that we now have in place an administration whose next possible scandal might be a president wearing an darker tan suit, similar to the one his president wore once in the eight years they were in office, with him, Joe Biden, as vice president. Or that his weakness for ice cream is caught on candid camera. That scandal I can live with. We already have the peloton issue to grapple with so who knows, that seems like a Biden-esque scandal.
What we went through as a global society the last four years was nothing short of an uncivil war, to borrow Joe Biden’s phrase, on common sense and decency. A world where being kind was seen as weakness and decency was seen as nonsense when an entirely incompetent person sat in the most influential office in the land, the world, and made his every petty feeling known on social media. Someone who never understood the power of the presidency or the honour which the office of the president holds. Someone who was absolutely incompetent in the role, who had no idea what he was dealing with half the time, surrounded by enablers and cantankerous people. The past four years have been nothing short of a bad performance from what used to be the most respected office globally.
I love American politics, it is filled with scandal and intrigue, illicit affairs, shady politicians and in the last four years, thugs. It is almost like a requisite for running for office; the bigger the scandal the better your chances. An office that holds such sacrosanct traditions that aids will enable any misdemeanour for the glory of the country. Where country is before party before person. It is to Barack Obama’s credit that his biggest mishap was wearing a tan suit, or that Michelle wore shorts on holiday. The last four years saw a man in the White House who was not only openly racist and sexist but he was utterly, absolutely incompetent. We have seen an America dealing with the wounds of its domestic problems. The last four years may not have seen wars abroad but it brought to the surface problems at home, problems that had gone overlooked for a long time as America sought to remove the rock from the world’s eye and not the log in its own. These last four years that problem bubbled over and on the 6th of January it reached breaking point with an insurrection that exposed the under belly of the American problem.
Today, however, as Joe Biden is sworn in as he 46th president of the United States of America, the world, not only America, breathes a deep sigh of relief. Not because we think the problems would fade away, indeed his candidacy is problematic in my opinion because it seems odd that the options for leaders of the free world was between two grandpas who could possibly not talk their way through an iPhone let alone tik-tok. They find favour more with luddites that wunderkinds. But I think we are a world so on the brink that we are willing to live with that, because the presence of Biden in the White House means an adult is going to be in the room where it happens, it means a more boring pace of politics where we don’t have to know the president’s personal thoughts on a royal couple, or a news network that dares to hold him accountable, as they should. There will be full press briefings once again, the democrats hold the senate, the house and the White House, this is an administration that is not afraid to soften the tone yet take a strong and candid approach.
Without America on the world stage, something is missing as it has been for the last four years, whilst I am not a fan of its sweeping hold over the global discourse, I am ready for it to step back and pull the conversation away from the brink, especially as a super power democracy. America is a country with a democracy that breeds hope, and a chance at a rebirth; they are never stronger than when their back is against the wall. I don’t care to converse with fascist or racists, or right wing nut jobs, I don’t care for their feelings, but I do care that we should have a more compassionate more forthright and a more respectful tone in global politics and if it takes America stepping back in the ring to play ball and check on our acquaintances from the eastern bloc and competitors on the other side of the world.
So on this Wednesday, two Wednesdays from that dark Wednesday, we breathe a sigh of relief, not because we think Joe Biden is here to solve the world’s problems, but because we know this really is a start of a more tolerant and compassionate tone in world politics. In the midst of a global pandemic, economic downturn, death and poverty, this moment is much needed and so very welcome.
Lastly, I live you with the words of Amanda Gorman, the youngest Poet Laureate to read a poem at an inauguration; “For while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us.”