Orange Menace Spoils Inauguration
Trump did not upset the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the US of America and his VP, Kamala Harris. Donald Trump has done so much evil that he leaves behind a presidency in shambles and a deeply divided country which saw thugs in the form of beefy white supremacists storming the Capitol. Never even dreamt such was possible.
As I write this – Wednesday 20 January noon - Washington DC is under extreme security and the guards themselves are being interviewed and reviewed as an inside job of disruption of the inauguration of the new president and his vice president is feared.
Though the United States of America is only 245 years old having been founded in 1776, it boasts many traditions and practices followed when a new President of the US is sworn in. Unfortunately they are all interrupted and shortfalled this year due to two vicious pests: COVID-19 and Donald Trump.
One was that the takeover and even election win was very very rough and fraught with disturbance. It was far from a peaceful, nay decent, transfer of power from the 45th Prez to the 46th. We know all about that. The transition period is 11 weeks from Election Day in November to Inauguration Day, usually 20 January. There was no formal or informal handing over of any sort of power or privilege In fact, Trump blocked normal routines and handing over and even did not give access to Biden on security info which he had every right to.
The tea served by the outgoing presidential couple to the new one, and the First Lady showing the inside of the White House etc to the next First Lady was done away with. Matters not as the new couple know the White House well, Biden having been VP twice. We have seen on TV former teas and how graciously the presidents conducted themselves, most often just previously fighting the election battle since most Prezs are on a second term. The Obamas were graciousness itself when they invited Donald Trump and Melania to tea. Even on that occasion I noticed how bumptious Trump seemed, vain and obviously egotistic and knowing he was being served tea by a Black American whose birth certificate he shouted out was suspect. He feels everyone is a cheat like himself.
On Inauguration Day, the ceremony is conducted with crowds jamming the National Mall stretching from the front of Capitol to Lincoln’s Statue with the white tower prominent. This time only 200 guests are invited, seating being with strict distancing. The outgoing Prez is invariably in the VVIP area. Not so this year. Cussed Trump said he will not be present and Biden courteously accepted it. We are glad about that. But VP Pence will be at the ceremony.
The Chief Justice conducts the oath taking ceremony of the Prez with his wife holding the Bible on which the oath is taken. The President then addresses the nation. Items vary according to the incoming President’s wishes and songs are sung, poems read. This year Lady Gaga will sing the National Anthem and Jennifer Lopez will also sing. Tom Hanks is scheduled to conduct a virtual ceremony of speeches and comments. For fear of Trump’s idiotic rioters causing trouble, the organising committee wished to do away with the open air ceremony. Biden insisted it goes on.
The drive back to the White House is a motorcade. Remembered is Jimmy Carter and Rosalyn walking back in the winter freezing weather.
Another very intimate and charming informal tradition is that the outgoing Prez handwrites a personal note to the incoming Prez with good wishes and even a bit of advice. Ronald Reagan formalised this and it has continued until the boor Trump came along. Sure he wrote no note for Sleepy Joe as he called the new Prez. If at all he would have loved to keep an explosive device instead! George Bush Jnr’s two daughters (in their 30s) wrote personal notes to Malia and Sasha Obama then aged 10 and 7 when Barack Obama started his first term as president.
The inauguration ball will surely be held on Wednesday evening. In fact more than one ball takes place. A difference this time: a woman will take second place of importance.
We will watch on TV this important occasion which occurs with no default every four years.