Wednesday, January 20, 2021

A New Year Now

I feel like a child who has watched the abusing parent being hauled away in a helicopter. After four years of bullying tirades and threats, today's inauguration of a new president was a welcome relief.

It was also a day of many firsts as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayer swore in Kamala Harris as Vice President of the United States.

Harris greets well-wishes after her swearing in ceremony.

After watching men reign supreme for my entire life, finally, a woman represents half of the country in a national office.

Finally.

Only 400 years after the country was founded.

Only 100 years after we obtained the right to vote.

Only four years after a woman ran for the office of president on a major ticket, and lost.

I'm fairly sure the men in my life have no idea what this means to me. My husband has an idea, but I suspect others are clueless. They have always seen themselves reflected back at them; I have not.

No woman ever has. Not in a national elected office.

Oh yes, we have made strides. But now we've made a huge leap.

***

This morning was fraught with fear for me. I would have preferred a more secure area for the ceremony. Inside somewhere. I feared for the life of everyone who was sitting on that balcony. I expected to see a bomb detonate on live TV. I held my breath as I watched, wishing them to hurry it along even as I applauded the bravado, the steadfastness, and the willingness to show to this country and the nation that we will not succumb to those who would deny the U.S. Constitution and its promises.

When Kamala Harris took her oath of office, I teared up. I couldn't help it. I didn't join in with other women who are wearing pearls and Chuck sneakers today, but I didn't need the trappings to admire and be mindful of this historic moment.

When U.S. Supreme Court John Roberts swore in Joseph R. Biden as president of these United States, he actually grinned. A real, honest and from the heart smile. Even my husband commented on it.

I don't think either of us had ever seen him smile before. At least, not enough to note it.

There was little spectacle in this inauguration. Lady Gaga came out in an expected outfit, large physical-distancing skirt trailing around her, a golden dove of peace flying above her bosom. She sang a lovely rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.

Garth Brooks later sang Amazing Grace, asking at the end for everyone to sing with him. He left the podium and enthusiastically hugged everyone within reach. (I was glad to hear commentators note that everyone out there had been tested at least twice for coronavirus in the last 72 hours.)

The National Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman, read an amazing poem. She did a great job. Her cadence reminded me of my college professor, Jeanne Larsen, and how she reads her poetry, stressing certain syllables and lines. 

Gorman's poem was called The Hill We Climb.

Here are a few lines:

We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it,
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.
And this effort very nearly succeeded.
But while democracy can be periodically delayed,
It can never be permanently defeated.

It was nice to have poetry back in D.C.

I am not naïve enough to think that this is the end of things. It is simply a different beginning. I do not want to go back to the normal of four years ago - that normal wasn't working. I want to move forward, into a brighter and better future.

Find our better angels, as our new president said.

They are out there, somewhere. All we have to do is look around.

Now, I can breathe.




2 comments:

  1. I also noticed that Justice Roberts looked... well, less smug than usual. I loved Lady Gaga. Not so much JLo. I liked that Garth was Garth. And the poetry was magnificent!

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  2. Lots of high points today! I loved the young poet at the end. She was interviewed and talked about having problems with the letter r. My daughter and grand daughter had that problem. I told my grand daughter that and she wants to know more about the young poet now. She is coming over to watch the recorded ceremony with me this weekend because she has to write about it for school. I forgot that she had school today so could not watch it real time. I was also glad to see V President Pence there along with the past presidents. Garth came out dressed true to himself. The fireworks were amazing! So much to be thankful for as I posted on my Thankful Thursday.

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