Well, it would be. The swearing in of the office of president and vice president, the review of the troops, the solemn visit to the Arlington National Cemetery and the arrival at the White House to sign the first executive orders open the Biden & Harris presidency for 2020-2024. This, and the conversion of the Twitter account @POTUS into Biden’s own, without a trace of his predecessor. The political act is also a show, typical of the superbowl of political communication.
The participation of Lady Gaga, Jennifer López, Garth Brooks and the young poet Amanda Gorman, as well as the subsequent television show hosted by Tom Hanks with Eva Longoria and Kerry Washington, attest to this.
More seriously, the day of 20-E is a fundamental reference in the peaceful transition of liberal democracies. It is a compendium of rituals and customs that serve to normalize the change of government and naturalize the unity of the country for the electoral cycle.
The attendance of former presidents is part of this tradition of mutual recognition and respect, so the deliberate absence of Donald Trump is a miscalculation. It is so improper that Republican leaders have decided to accompany the president to the religious ceremony and then to the main event, instead of attending Trump’s farewell at the Saint Andrews military base.
Trump, without moral authority
The nonsense of January 6 has spooked the Republican establishment. Without a speech awarding victory and with the warmth with which he dispatched the assault on the Capitol, the former president has lost moral authority.
In fact, he comes out with the lowest popularity rating of his tenure. Now I contemplate his becoming the leader of Trumpism as a social movement rather than as a candidate for 2024. The Trumpist farewell, “the best is yet to come,” anticipates the future. In any case, it is still early. We will see how he comes out of the second impeachment and the multitude of trials that await him.
The diversity of America today
The analysis of the 2,402 words of the speech of the already 46th president of the United States can be interpreted in three lines of political action.
The choice of the rubric “A united country” sends a message of reconciliation inspired by the national motto (“e pluribus unum”), which can be freely translated as the unity that emerges from the fusion of many. It is what American society needs to turn the page on the events of January 6 and think about a political project based on shared values: individual freedom, civil rights, economic liberalism, the land of opportunities and melting. pot.
“It is a day of history and hope, not fear,” insisted Joe Biden, calling his choice a “victory for the cause of democracy.”
Diverse America, tolerance, and the end of the “uncivil war that separates reds from blues, rural from urban, conservatives versus liberals.” The presidential couple themselves represent the diversity of America today. Biden and his wife Jill are Catholic and Kamala Harris, a Protestant of Hindu origin, married to Douglas Emhoff, a Jewish lawyer. Jennifer Lopez’s words in Spanish welcome the use of Spanish for the first time at an inauguration.
The call for national unity and restoration fits a reality very different from the daydreams of supremacism. Repeated references to the problem of racism and inequality will materialize in policies and economic stimuli in the form of income transfers, local aid or health coverage.
That is where the Democratic decade is at stake, which will have to move from Kennedian rhetoric to budgets. Domestic economic recovery is the foundation for reconciliation and the engine of global trade. It is a priority area.
The recovery of international prestige. For four years, the United States has ceased to be a reliable partner in the eyes of Europeans, according to data published by the European Council on Foreign Relations.
Presidential arrogance and the absence in international institutions and agreements weaken the leadership position and reinforce, in a communicative glass, the Chinese and Russian options. It is urgent to recover Atlanticism as an exercise of multilateral leadership, open to liberal democracies and free trade.
“The power of our example”
“The power of our example” and “beacon to the world”, Biden said, aware of the need to establish alliances and engage with international partners. The respect of the international community will be earned from the first 17 decrees that will be signed immediately. It is not convenient to fall into nostalgia, but from the pandemic to climate change, the leadership of the United States will be decisive in the great causes of the global agenda.
Finally, a reflection on the crisis of liberal democracies. “We are facing an attack on our democracy and the truth, the virus of fury, the wound of inequality, systemic racism and the climate crisis,” the president declared.
Biden has repeated up to five times the value and function of truth in a world of liars. The infection has reached the heart of democratic institutions and electoral processes. Now is the time to face this challenge. Hopefully the Biden & Harris tandem is lucky. We need it.
Article published in ‘The conversation‘.