Joe Biden’s Inclusive Inauguration

Eliana Linder

JThis past election has been a roller coaster regarding our presidency and political system. It was up to the swing states to determine who would be the next president and there were many close calls throughout the country. Arizona and Georgia went blue, which led everyone to believe that Biden won early-on with 174 electoral votes. Nevada was taking what felt like a year to the American people to count votes, and due to COVID, mail-in votes played a huge role in determining the president. Due to this uncertainty, President Trump questioned the legitimacy of the election in the following tweet: “Biden can only enter the White House as President if he can prove that his ridiculous ‘80,000,000 votes’ were not fraudulently or illegally obtained.” In the end, however, Biden ended up on top, and on his inauguration on January 20th, 2021, he was sworn in as president of the United States.

This inauguration was definitely  one for the history books! For one, the first female VicePresident in American History, Kamala Harris, was inaugurated. To have a woman hold so much power in the government would have been unheard of 100 years ago- American women only got the right to vote in 1920, from the 19th amendment, and even that was a struggle to achieve. In 1917, only three years before women had the right to vote in the United States, the first women congressmen sworn in. Now, in 2021, a new record for women serving in Congress has been set with 126 current congresswomen. This shows not only how far the nation has come in terms of women’s rights, but also how much more has to be done in the future. . 

US history was also made by the fact that Trump did not attend Biden’s inauguration. Donald Trump is the 4th president to not go to the next president’s inauguration, the other three being John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Andrew Johnson. Early morning on January 20th, Donald Trump moved out of the White House and into his private property in Florida instead of attending the ceremony. Former Vice President Mike Pence did attend the ceremony, but Trump’s behavior illustrates how polarized the nation is right now. People have such strong views about our government and which political party they support that they can take extreme measures which often result in violence. This was witnessed on January 6th, when people protesting the election results outside the Capitol made it inside the building, causing Congress to have to hide in a bunker and delaying them from counting the electoral votes. 

the other hand, many other important figures, such as former presidents Barack O’Bama, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, attended the inauguration. Although former president Jimmy Carter stayed home for the event, he talked to Biden on January 19th and exchanged pleasantries. Some notable women who were at this event included Hilary Clinton, Michelle Obama, and Jill Biden. All of these women, including Kamala Harris, were wearing the color purple which is supposed to signify unity because it combines the colors red and blue- the colors of the two major American political parties. There were also many performers at the event such as Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, and Garth Brooks. Instead of the American citizens that would typically come and watch the ceremony, there were about 25,000 military soldiers in comparison to the 8,000 at Trump’s inauguration. Covid-19 prevented the American people from witnessing such an impactful day and due to the events of January 6th, the need for the military services was required -Washington DC was practically under lockdown on January 20th.

Throughout the inauguration, there were various memorable moments, and fortunately, the event had no visible problems. To start, both Biden and Harris, along with a few other guests, went to mass at Cathedral of St. Matthew Apostle. At around 10:30, Harris and Biden arrived at the capital and they were sworn in at around 11:30. During the inauguration, Lady Gaga, who is an outspoken supporter of  Joe Biden, sang the national anthem. There was also an amazing poetry reading by Amanda Gorman, who is the first National Youth Poet Laureate, as she was only 19 when she was awarded that honor.  In her poem, Gorman referred to the Capitol Riots and talked about the current state of our nation: “We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it… that will destroy our country if it means delaying democracy. And this effort very nearly succeeded.” Her poem was inspiring and will be forever remembered in US History; she pointed out that while the nation has many faults, the American people can still come together as one for the future. There were multiple musical performances, and at noon, Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States.  To conclude the inauguration, Biden delivered an inaugural speech that inspired the nation. 

He covered many topics concerning the country’s current state; however,  he mostly focused on unification. Biden said that “this is our historic moment of crisis and challenge…Unity is the path forward. And we must meet this moment as the United States of America. If we do that, I guarantee you we will not fail.” It is no secret that the country is divided, but as Biden said, there are many challenges on the horizon, such as racial inequality and the COVID-19 pandemic, and Americans must be a united force to fight against them. Later that day, Biden tackled these two issues as he signed an executive order to cancel Trump’s ban on travellers from certain Muslim counties, and he made it a law to wear a mask on federal property. 

Biden also recognized the monumental moment of Kamala Harris becoming the first female Vice President, saying  “here we stand where 108 years ago, at another inaugural, thousands of protesters tried to block brave women marching for the right to vote, and today we mark the swearing-in of the first woman in American history elected to national office, Vice President Kamala Harris.”

 Biden also offered a silent prayer to those who lost their lives due to Covid-19: an obstacle the country has and continues to greatly suffer from.

Joe Biden’s stunning inaugural speech addressed many of America’s issues, and hopefully, he will be able to Unite America and come out victorious at the end. We can all agree that we must unite as a whole and overcome all of these hardships so that we can keep moving forward. In the meantime,  the whole country eagerly awaits what Joe Biden will accomplish in his presidency with some wondering if he will truly be able to bring together this polarized country.