We survived. At long last, we endured the campaign of 2020, its millions and millions of dollars and endless charges and countercharges. At long last we endured the election of Nov. 3 and the aftermath of those who refused to accept its clear outcome. And at long last we endured the two months between election and inauguration when reckless voices became more and more reckless and some of our own citizens attacked our national capitol under the misguided notion that somehow they should be called patriots.
We now have a new president. Joe Biden now occupies the Oval Office as our 46th president.
Like many I spent much of the day watching on TV as we transferred power under conditions that were anything but normal for this event due to the virus pandemic and the threat that some citizens think chaos is preferred to democracy.
I reread Donald Trump inauguration speech. I listened to Joe Biden’s same address. The differences were stark. While Trump talked about “American carnage” and foreboding, Biden appealed to America’s better angels and repeatedly called for unity
Here are some of Biden’s comments:
Today, we celebrate the triumph, not of a candidate, but of a cause, the cause of democracy.
To overcome these challenges, to restore the soul and secure the future of America requires so much more than words. It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy: unity, unity.
Through civil war, the Great Depression, world war, 9/11, through struggle, sacrifice and setbacks, our better angels have always prevailed. In each of these moments, enough of us, enough of us have come together to carry all of us forward. And we can do that now. History, faith and reason show the way, the way of unity. We can see each other not as adversaries, but as neighbors. We can treat each other with dignity and respect. We can join forces, stop the shouting and lower the temperature. For without unity, there is no peace, only bitterness and fury. No progress, only exhausting outrage. No nation, only a state of chaos.
Let’s begin to listen to one another again. Hear one another, see one another, show respect to one another. Politics doesn’t have to e a raging fire, destroying everything in its path.
Disagreement must not lead to disunion
We must end this uncivil war.
While I do not recall Donald Thump’s name ever being mentioned, his presence hung over the day. Certainly many mentally compared his increasingly erratic behavior of the past two months to the normalcy unfolding before them.
To me his greatest transgression was the refusal to take part in the inauguration. After all, former presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush and Barak Obama, two Democrats and one Republican, were all there. But then they have class. Trump does not.
His pettiness was especially noted when Biden, Clinton, Bush and Obama all took part in a celebration at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This slight seared me. As taps rang across the hillside, I thought of the cold February day in 2006 when I stood by daddy’s grave and listed to the same tune. As I write this, I can glance over my right shoulder and see the flag that draped his coffin that day.
Trump’s failure to recognize tradition and the sacrifices made by daddy and the 400,000 buried at Arlington is now his legacy.