We did it, folks. He’s gone for good. On November 3, 2020, over 81 million of us told the 45th President of the United States to get the hell out of our house. Today, we welcome the 46th President of the United States, Joseph R. Biden Jr.
On the drive home today from my walk with our beloved four-legged buddies, I heard the beautiful voice of Lady Gaga singing our National Anthem emanating from my car radio. I couldn’t hold back anymore. The tears started to flow like a spring waterfall in Oregon. It’s as if a massive weight, an albatross if you will, began to leave my body all at once.
The gravity of the moment will live with me for the rest of my life. I felt similar emotions when the election was formerly called for Biden. But this was different. So much has happened since that day. We witnessed a sitting president promulgating the Big Lie for months that the election was rigged and stolen from him, which led to the day which will live in infamy: January 6, 2021.
The crazies tried to take our Capitol. They tried to overturn the will of the people on that day. But they did not prevail. Democracy survived, albeit by a thread, and we saw in real-time how vulnerable it all was and is. We can never take what we have for granted again. Biden’s predecessor, a man our Founders always worried would somehow come to power, never respected the Constitution he swore to uphold. Nor did he ever respect the office, just as all of his predecessors did before him.
He couldn’t even have the decency to show up for his successor’s inauguration. Another rarity, not seen since the disastrous Andrew Johnson did the same in the aftermath of the Civil War. In many ways, it makes sense when you think about it. We’ve got a new Civil War going on right now, which, while not started by the 45th, was undoubtedly exacerbated and ignited beyond our wildest imagination.
Thank God, though, he didn’t show up today. He didn’t belong on that stage. He was not welcome, and none of the living ex-presidents will ever welcome him. It’s an exclusive club. It will take years to recover from the stain and stench he left upon that office. I heard they’re doing an extensive deep cleaning in the White House today – more than they did under any other transitions. For Biden’s sake, I hope they do a thorough job.
As I said above, though, he’s gone for good. It’s time to feel a little hope and optimism for a change. I realize there’s much skepticism out there, that nothing is going to change. After all, Democrats have a thin majority in the House and an even more razor’s thin edge in the Senate. I know the waters ahead are rough and uncertain. I get that.
But I’m not going to apologize for feeling uplifted today. We have a new president who has an ambitious and exciting agenda. Yes, he’s going to have Mitch McConnell, the far-right media echo-chamber, and even some on his Democratic left to deal with going forward. But there will be plenty of time to deal with those political headwinds. Today is not the time for negativity. We’ve had enough of that for years, have we not?
Finally, I’d be remiss if I did not mention how proud I was to see Kamala Harris take the oath as the United States’ new vice-president. She’s the first woman, the first African-American, and the first person of South Asian descent to hold that office. There are many Americans who have a problem with that. I hope that a majority of Americans do not. Congratulations, Mrs. Vice-President. I know you will fulfill your duties with honor and dignity.
When Joe Biden put his hand on the bible, it was 8:48 am out here on the left coast. To be sure, a little too early to drink alcohol on any other day. But today was not just another day. It’s a day of hope, optimism, and, yes, relief.
And while I’m usually a beer and wine kind of guy, I decided to break out the hard stuff. After the last four years, do you blame me?
Cheers, Mr. President, and good luck!