We only see them. Arriving on Wednesday, January 20, in this family neighborhood in northwest Washington (United States), it is impossible to miss the many signs in favor of the new president of the United States. Marla Bobowick leaves her house, wearing the famous pink “pussy hat”, a symbol of women’s anger towards Donald Trump. Her husband, Mort Rolleston, sets up the projection equipment. Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony begins in a few minutes and the neighbors are invited for the occasion.
Marla Bobowick does not hesitate to turn up the volume from her house. “This is the nomination playlist!” she says with a smile. The 53-year-old consultant, with gray, wavy hair, blew up the idea of a collective screening during a dinner with her neighbor Katherine a few days earlier: “I wanted to be on the Mall but it’s impossible” in a barricaded Washington after the violent intrusion on the Capitol two weeks before and due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As 92% of residents of the US federal capital, she voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. So out of the question not to celebrate this moment, even if it is not what she had imagined. “I was so excited when I woke up this morning”, she describes. The arrival to power of the former Delaware senator marks, for Marla Bobowick as for her neighbors, “a new day”.
– Valentine Pasquesoone (@valpasquesoone) January 20, 2021
“A hell.” Here’s how the consultant describes Donald Trump’s four-year presidency. “I often woke up worried, fearful. My nephew refused to come to Washington as long as Trump was president, because he was too afraid.”, she emphasizes. The Democratic neighbors of AU Park, a neighborhood close to American University, do not have enough harsh words to recount this term which is ending. “Trump brought out America’s worst: greed of the rich and racism”, slice Katherine. The 66-year-old retiree is a former lawyer specializing in environmental defense. His voice is calm, but his anger towards the former president enlivens him.
This morning, Debbie Bruno, a former journalist turned author, was one of the first guests present. “I am so happy and relieved that we are taking this step, that we move on after these four horrible years”, confides this 63-year-old American, her eyes red with emotion. During the tenure of the former real estate mogul, the Democrat broke some friendships, which supported Donald Trump.
“For the past four years, I’ve been stressed out, I’ve had trouble sleeping. I was constantly angry, and I really don’t like being in this state. Trump is a traitor, he didn’t. that create division. “Debbie Bruno
This investiture therefore marks a new era: “I needed to feel that the Trump years are truly over.” For other neighbors, the departure of Donald Trump also promises a turning point, both personal and professional. Adam, in his early sixties, works for the Environmental Protection Agency within the government. “It was a challenge to work for Trump”, he concedes discreetly, without wanting to give details. On this inauguration morning of Joe Biden, he feels “relieved and full of hope”.
A few meters away, Joshua Corbyn came with his two children aged 7 and 13. A little over a month ago, he found a few neighbors in this alley to celebrate Thanksgiving. This grandson of Polish immigrants, neuroscientist, might have left the United States if Donald Trump had been invested again this Wednesday. The former president’s gaze on science and immigration frightened him too much. “And he’s a little bully”, loose the father of the family, attached to seeing models for his children among the leaders of his country.
Joshua Corbyn suspects it, Donald Trump could remain very present on the political scene, even if he left the White House for his residence in Mar-a-Lago, Florida. The businessman plans to launch his party, the Patriots’ Party, and leaves behind fervent supporters. “It’s not going to go away, but for now the clouds are dispersing”, metaphorizes the scientist. “And for now, it’s the sun.”
Down the aisle, the Biden-Harris duo creates excitement among the guests, especially the women. Two young neighbors stamp their feet in front of the ceremony, at the evocation of the first black woman and of Asian origin vice-president of the United States. “It’s historic and moving”, reacts Pilar Alvarez, one of them. The 22-year-old, who sports a Joe Biden pin, is delighted to see “better representation of racialized women in the White House”. In front of the oath of the former senator from California, the applause of the audience is fed.
Then comes Joe Biden’s turn to step up to the desk. Left hand on the Bible, right hand raised, the 46th President of the United States in turn takes the oath on Capitol Hill. “I thought that day would never come!” exclaims Debbie Bruno. The group applauds warmly, before celebrating the event with a glass of champagne.
– Valentine Pasquesoone (@valpasquesoone) January 20, 2021
All, however, are not convinced from the first hour. Debbie Bruno and Katherine preferred Pete Buttigieg in the Democratic primaries. Joshua Corbyn, for a while, thought of Bernie Sanders. But Joe Biden “is a good, honest man”, defends Debbie Bruno. “A man who represents decency” for Joshua Corbyn, “and who is strong, who understands the trials so much he has overcome”, according to Katherine.
“Joe Biden is not the progressive some expected, but his actions will move the country forward. We really needed someone to get us back on track.”
The AU Park group silently watch the speech by Joe Biden, who claims to be the “president of all Americans”. “Listen to what my heart has to say to you, listen to me clearly, disagreements must not lead to disunity”, he says to disappointed voters. “Joe Biden is the right person at the right time, he is trying to unite people and restore democracy”, greeted Marla Bobowick after the speech of the new President of the United States. The group disperses. Mort Rolleston is putting away the equipment installed in front of Katherine’s garage. Now he’s waiting for one thing from the Biden presidency: “a return to normal”.