InconvenientNews.Net 1/22/21 That was quite an exciting day on January 20th. I’m absolutely joyous, to be living now in the Biden era. I hope you all saw his inauguration, and the evening concert. They were inspiring.
The day was not without controversy. Two women of color on MSNBC and another network thought that the young poet upstaged Joe Biden. I thought Joe gave the best speech of his career, and the speech will be famous.
My sister Marney Morrison replied, “Re Joe Bidon and Amanda Gorman. Both are true – excellent speech and she was the best performer of the day – didn’t diminish him though – all the talent he attracted just raised his event up and amplified him and his administration.”
David Brooks wrote in the NYT today, that his favorite passage was this: “ “Here is the thing about life: There is no accounting for what fate will deal you. Some days you need a hand; there are other days when we are called to lend a hand.” The Biden values are there: humility, vulnerability, compassion, resilience, interdependence, solidarity. Donald Trump’s patriotism was bloated and fear-based. Biden’s is the self-confident patriotism he absorbed by growing up in a certain sort of country during the American century.”
I hear in that historic speech, a dozen or so beautiful sentences or paragraphs. Hear are my favorite parts. “We have learned again that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile. And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.
So now, on this hallowed ground where just days ago violence sought to shake this Capitol’s very foundation, we come together as one nation, under God, indivisible, to carry out the peaceful transfer of power as we have for more than two centuries.
We look ahead in our uniquely American way — restless, bold, optimistic — and set our sights on the nation we know we can be and we must be. I thank my predecessors of both parties for their presence here. I thank them from the bottom of my heart.”
“. . . I have just taken the sacred oath each of these patriots took — an oath first sworn by George Washington. But the American story depends not on any one of us, not on some of us, but on all of us. On “We the People” who seek a more perfect Union.”
“. . . Few periods in our nation’s history have been more challenging or difficult than the one we’re in now. A once-in-a-century virus silently stalks the country. It’s taken as many lives in one year as America lost in all of World War II. Millions of jobs have been lost. Hundreds of thousands of businesses closed. A cry for racial justice some 400 years in the making moves us. The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer.
A cry for survival comes from the planet itself. A cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear. And now, a rise in political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat.
To overcome these challenges – to restore the soul and to secure the future of America – requires more than words. It requires that most elusive of things in a democracy: Unity.
In another January in Washington, on New Year’s Day 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. When he put pen to paper, the President said, “If my name ever goes down into history it will be for this act and my whole soul is in it.” My whole soul is in it.”
“. . . And so today, at this time and in this place, let us start afresh. All of us. Let us listen to one another. Hear one another. See one another. Show respect to one another. Politics need not be a raging fire destroying everything in its path. Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war. And, we must reject a culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured. My fellow Americans, we have to be different than this. America has to be better than this. And, I believe America is better than this.”
“. . . Many centuries ago, Saint Augustine, a saint of my church, wrote that a people was a multitude defined by the common objects of their love. What are the common objects we love that define us as Americans? I think I know. Opportunity. Security. Liberty. Dignity. Respect. Honor. And, yes, the truth.
Recent weeks and months have taught us a painful lesson. There is truth and there are lies. Lies told for power and for profit. And each of us has a duty and responsibility, as citizens, as Americans, and especially as leaders – leaders who have pledged to honor our Constitution and protect our nation — to defend the truth and to defeat the lies.”
“. . . So here is my message to those beyond our borders: America has been tested and we have come out stronger for it. We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again. Not to meet yesterday’s challenges, but today’s and tomorrow’s. We will lead not merely by the example of our power but by the power of our example. We will be a strong and trusted partner for peace, progress, and security. We have been through so much in this nation.
And, in my first act as President, I would like to ask you to join me in a moment of silent prayer to remember all those we lost this past year to the pandemic. To those 400,000 fellow Americans – mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. We will honor them by becoming the people and nation we know we can and should be. Let us say a silent prayer for those who lost their lives, for those they left behind, and for our country. Amen.
This is a time of testing. We face an attack on democracy and on truth. A raging virus. Growing inequity. The sting of systemic racism. A climate in crisis.
America’s role in the world. (Oops, right here the speech writer chickened out or ducked. Everyone gets to finish this opaque bullet point they way they like. Did they mean, America’s role in the world –diminished, or co-0pted by Vladimir Putin? I think they are probably saying, damaged by Donald Trump, without saying it.)
Any one of these would be enough to challenge us in profound ways. But the fact is we face them all at once, presenting this nation with the gravest of responsibilities. Now we must step up. All of us. It is a time for boldness, for there is so much to do.
And, this is certain. We will be judged, you and I, for how we resolve the cascading crises of our era. Will we rise to the occasion? Will we master this rare and difficult hour? Will we meet our obligations and pass along a new and better world for our children? I believe we must and I believe we will.”
David Lindsay: I think that last paragraph above is my favorite. I love “cascading crises,” which echos the most ominous term in climate science, “cascading events.” Cascading events are what will probably end life as we know and love it on this planet, if we continue to party and overpopulate and pollute. The most famous example that comes to mind, is that the melting of the frozen tundras of the world, causes the release of millions of tons of carbon dioxide and methane, which will lead to more global warming, leading to more melting . . . . . et cetera. Scientist have warned for years that we are starting what might someday soon (?) be an unstoppable, cascading chain of events. Joe Biden gets it. He is begging our anti-science fellow citizens to listen to the scientists.
Politico: “Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this: Bringing America together. Uniting our people. And uniting our nation,” President Joe Biden said.
Chief Justice Roberts, Vice President Harris, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, Leader McConnell, Vice President Pence, distinguished guests, and my fellow Americans. This is America’s day. . . .