Change is here. And for many, the week has brought about one of the starkest transitions of Presidencies that I've experienced in my lifetime.
Much like the terrorist attack on the Capitol, I wanted to give myself some time to absorb inauguration day in order to harness my feelings and thoughts. As we experienced with the Capitol, it's very easy to get wrapped up in the emotion of everything that was the morning of January 20th, 2021. And yes, those emotions are easily spurred and influenced by political leanings or voting interest.
Hint: I voted for Joe Biden. I discloe that. This is where you can like or hate me, I guess. You can read a little bit about why I came to that conclusion, here.
Yet, even after the day has passed and the current administration begins its work with sweeping changes - or undoings, however, you currently view it - this inauguration is so unique and carries enormous reflection beyond the obvious stark contrast of administrations and the very apparent political divide that currently exists in our nation.
By no means does it surpass the inauguration of Barack Obama in 2008 - that was uber special and remains so for obvious reasons. However, this one forced me to look inward, many times, and in many ways.
It's not lost on me that 75 million people were, for lack of a better phrase, unhappy, this week. For the majority who were welcoming of the change, a shared sense of relief, joy, and hope were common themes of emotions. I too had those initial feelings. And those feelings may have been further amplified by those images at the Capitol on January 6th, 2021. It cemented the very need and urgency for a change in leadership by many within that sector. A change in voice. A change in attitude. Needed.
As the political temperature simmers for the time - or really, just lowered from the boiling rage that it has been - I find myself wondering how I can continue to see the other side - despite my disagreement. I've developed more of an unapologetic attitude towards inequality and racism shortcomings from this country, and more so, from those who uphold the systems and structures that sustain it. Those are my scars from the Trump Presidency.
Going further, and being outright honest with you, there is indeed a side of me that would like to see the former President convicted on the senate floor on this impeachment (for precedent). Maybe, even more, considering his pending legal issues.
Again, I'm bearing it all...don't judge me. Or at the least, bare with me. But the thinking is if The Don goes down, so will all of the madness that arose with him, and the accountability that has evaded him. Maybe even some of the silly and harmful conspiracy theories. Much of the mess that is present has been around forever. Trump isn't necessarily the creator of it - he's a byproduct of what has always been, and very much so for a long time in the underbelly of America. As many have said throughout the past four years, he has just given these issues the platform from the seat of the Presidency.
For me, the idea that 75M people can overlook racism - or not hold equality has a priority on their voting ticket - bothers me. It still does. And I'm well aware that for many, they can deal with racism as long as they receive their tax cuts. Or keep their neighborhoods homogenous. Or continue to feel comfortable in what they have known to be their America.
For that reason, I realized during the inauguration that I need to find a new balance. How can I give civil discourse and clearly view "the other side" - even when sectors of opposers haven't shared that nuance and grace the other way - if I can't intellectually and emotionally allow myself to do so.
Watching President Biden being sworn in was special. Even more so, Vice-President Kamala Harris, for all of the inclusionary firsts it sets, smashes and creates. Again, relief. Joy. Hope.
But it brought about ease from the movement and urgency from the inflictions of the past four years. Where every moment felt like an inflection point - too many which created a world and society of constant chaos.
By no means am I looking to retreat and return to normal, because there isn't any turning back. How can anyone return to what things were like in 2015? But this inauguration allowed a rage and fire to subside just a bit, in order to recalibrate on what a new normal looks like.
A new nation with a woman VP. A new nation with a growing (and educated) black and brown populace engaged in the political process. A new nation with an aware white American base reckoning with long-ignored racial agendas, stronger than what Martin, Malcolm, Mr. Lewis, and more would have loved to witness. A new America where fact is disputed and conspiracy theories are upheld. A new America where the "United" in USA defines more so our geographical boundaries than that of the boundaries of our hearts.
This week, there is indeed a sense of relief. Joy. Hope.
But inauguration Wednesday left a feeling that it was more about being a footnote on this journey - a pause for refinement if you will - and not so much the "new day" that so it appears on the surface.
Here are a few other quick notes and thoughts from this week's Inauguration:
Amanda Gorman was the very best thing about the inauguration for me.
I love words. I love meaning. And her words carried with me more so than President Biden's speech, which was also very good.
While the entire thing is absolute gold, my favorite few lines had me snapping my fingers in true poetry applause at the television - mmmmm hmmmm, preach, child!
It's because being American is more than a pride we inherit,
it's the past we step into
and how we repair it
We've seen a force that would shatter our nation
rather than share it
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy
Gorman reminded me of the many high school lunch periods of listening (and even sometimes contributing) to the rap battles and poetry recitals posing as "tough lines". The many individuals who were insanely talented wordsmiths who had an avenue to express their America in a creative way, but never had the coaching, the mentorship, the access, the avenues, or yes, the structured support.
Amanda Gorman is fire. And she blazed through that door on a global platform on Wednesday.
It means so much for this kid from Brooklyn. Because I know there are so, so, so many more Amanda Gormans currently out there with a composition book filled with dope lines and fire poems.
WHAT DID SHE SAY?
I'm just going to say it - the very second J-Lo erupted into Spanish mid-song, I knew - I just knew! - there would be many who would have a problem with it. Talk American! This is America, dammit!
As I said above, we've been conditioned to expect the worst from others. And we've been getting it a lot lately, making it extremely hard to change.
YOU GOOD, BERNIE?
I'm not over memes of Bernie Sanders in random places. Sorry, the creatives ones are just awesome.
NEW DAY, SAME DISAPPOINTMENTS
After the inauguration wrapped up, I wondered what would happen to cable news now that the lightning rod that was President Trump is no longer - well, for now.
Much to my shock (but yet, not surprised), it was disappointing to see specific cable news shows find crazy rhetoric to begin for their shows. It was like going over to someone's new apartment after they just moved in and criticizing them for not having updates or things in place.
It caused me to wonder if the outlandish rhetoric would turn people away, or further push apart the two sides in a "now it's our turn to criticize" swapping of administration viewpoints.
Honestly, it's so tiring.
And of course, there are also the crazy remarks...SMH.
WOMEN, WOMEN, WOMEN!
There is so much to be said about what Kamala Harris means to women. I'm not even going to attempt to describe that, being that of a man - I cannot even begin to step into those shoes.
However, I couldn't help but wonder about how many little girls were sitting at home watching VP Harris being sworn in who now feel like they have a real, legit, viable, authentic, and truthful dream in serving in the White House.
That made me smile, alot. It really did.
After all, isn't that what we claim to be about?