The president-elect will become the 46th president of the United States on January 20 after taking his oath to the Constitution. The act was usually considered a celebration of democracy, but this year it will be strongly influenced by the pandemic and the political crisis that the United States is going through.
Joe Biden is hours away from becoming the 46th president in American history. This January 20, shortly before noon in Washington DC, the Democrat is called to be sworn in with his new vice president, Kamala Harris. This act is historically a procedure that represents a party for democracy, but this year it will have a very different tint due to the political and epidemiological context that the country is going through.
The inauguration of 2021 will most likely be remembered for the exceptionality that will surround an act that will have nothing to do with the previous ones. The main factor in this situation is the coronavirus pandemic: the United States is in the middle of the third wave of the epidemic and is the most affected country in the world with more than 24 million confirmed cases and close to 400,000 deaths.
All events have been limited. Joe Biden will be sworn in with Kamala Harris overseas, but the guest list will be notably reduced to members of the House and Senate and other senior officials.
Joe Biden’s campaign team suggested to the president-elect a much more austere event held indoors and with fewer people, but the Democrat refused to break with the tradition of celebrating the outdoor inauguration implemented by Andrew Jackson in 1865.
However, during the ceremony there will be no traditional parade down Constitution Avenue or public on the esplanade of the National Mall due to the situation of the pandemic. Instead, the organizers have installed 200,000 American flags.
Security measures will be extreme
An inauguration ceremony is usually an event in which great efforts are usually concentrated to protect the safety of the president and guests as it is an open-air event, but this year Washington DC has seen a historic deployment of forces of the National Guard due to the high political division in the United States.
The country wants to avoid images like the ones the world saw on January 6, when the Capitol was stormed by radical sympathizers of outgoing President Donald Trump, just after the Republican gave a fiery speech against what, without proof, he considered a electoral fraud that gave victory to Joe Biden.
The Capitol was stormed by hundreds of people, many of them armed, who, with practically no opposition from the security forces, put the lives of legislators and politicians in the country at serious risk. After hours of chaos in the American capital, the toll was five fatalities and a shock never seen in American democracy.
It is estimated that more than 20,000 National Guard soldiers will defend the Capitol complex alongside several thousand local police, the FBI and even the Secret Service. Security measures are also being extreme against possible internal attacks and all the soldiers who will be deployed to protect the ceremony are being examined.
One of the great challenges the Biden Administration will face, in addition to the pandemic, is extreme polarization in their country. This division has also led to Donald Trump being the first president since 1869 not to attend his successor’s ceremony. Those who will be will be former presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush and Barack Obama. Jimmy Carter, 96, has decided to decline the invitation for the first time due to his advanced age and the risk that this entails due to the pandemic.
Also present will be the outgoing Vice President of the United States Mike Pence, a protagonist in recent weeks due to the differences he has maintained with Trump, whom he decided to stop following in the game of protesting against an alleged electoral fraud that was never proven.
A practically virtual ceremony
The musical stars of the ceremony will be Lady Gaga and Jennifer López. Gaga will be in charge of singing the American national anthem during the ceremony and López will take part in the musical performance of the event.
In addition to this, during the inauguration there will be a television program presented by actor Tom Hanks that will be broadcast on the main networks in the country and on social networks. Only the Fox network, one of the main defenders of the Trump campaign, has refused to broadcast this event.
The program is a replacement for the celebrations that usually take place in person and will also feature performances by Bon Jovi, Justin Timberlake and Demi Lobato.
The celebrations after the victories of the Democrats usually feature artists of greater international name due to the great support that the party enjoys between the cultural and music industry. Several sources pointed out the problems that Donald Trump had to hire artists in 2017, since some like Elton John or Kiss rejected him.
Joe Biden’s swearing-in on January 20 will be historic due to its multiple conditions and political context, so the world will follow it expectantly.
With AP and local media