(Citizen Free Press) — On the first morning of Joe Biden’s presidency, America changed completely or did not change at all?
Already destroying the legacy of Donald Trump, Biden is demonstrating the vast potential of his office to change the course of the nation in a second. He has observed nine presidents since he arrived in Washington and it shows. The new commander-in-chief quickly reached for the familiar levers of power and demonstrated a mastery of the theatricality of his office to usher in a new political era in the hours after his inauguration.
Every step Biden took Wednesday, from worshiping with rival congressional leaders before his inauguration to an inauguration speech that emphasized healing, unity and truth through a trip to Arlington National Cemetery with three former presidents , sent a clear message: America is on a new course.
When Biden bowed his head in silent prayer in memory of the victims of the pandemic during his speech and spent the day behind a face mask, he showed respect for the potential danger of the virus never shown by his predecessor. In the process, he pointed out the route out of the gravest of what he said were the “cascading” national crises that will attack his first months in office.
Thanks to a huge pile of decrees on the desk in the Oval Office, the United States is returning to the Paris climate agreement and the World Health Organization and ending the travel ban of some primarily Muslim nations.
In the time it took him to write his name, Biden cut off the funding for the border wall, which was the most galvanizing cause of Trumpism.
Biden’s speedy signatures didn’t just send a signal around the world that the United States, as its allies have known it for decades, had returned. They exposed a key weakness of the Trump presidency: ill-conceived executive power takeovers to win a headline for a strongman president are easy to undo, and they lack the permanence of legislative wins, which the former president had little interest in pursuing.
A political storm has passed
All Wednesday, there was a sense of lightness in the air as political opponents struggled to be courteous to one another, perhaps out of respect for Biden’s call to end the “uncivil warfare” of modern politics.
Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri recalled how former President Barack Obama had sung “Amazing Grace” at a funeral after a shooting massacre in South Carolina. Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota called Blunt her “friend.” Congressional leaders even shared jokes.
There was none of the eggshells walking on or the flattery to the commander-in-chief that had been required by Trump’s fragile public persona. His departure from Washington, at least for a few hours, seemed to change the character of the city. Meanwhile, Biden’s early events suggest that the president will now speak to the country in calm, well-measured speeches rather than angry tweets and rambling monologues.
In the evening, Biden’s new press secretary, Jen Psaki, gave a conference that broke with recent tradition in that it was not designed solely to provide lines for Globe Live Media. And Biden vowed to fire anyone who treated their co-workers with disrespect, a code his predecessor would have quickly violated.
In essence, Biden’s conduct on Wednesday, as he often reflected credit in his subordinates and convinced the American people to live up to the core values of their country, demonstrated a deep respect for the institution of the presidency itself and a willingness to turn his mandate into something other than just himself.
Kindness and decency are back.
In many ways, the 46th president has returned Washington to its former normalcy. And Trump supporters will no doubt view the restoration of decorum at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as a sign that “established power” is back in control.
However, the hearing of the nation’s first female, black and South Asian vice president, Kamala Harris, being sworn in suggested the capital is not simply back in the hands of its former white established power.
Sixty years ago, an elderly Robert Frost recited a poem at the inauguration of a young president, John Kennedy. On Wednesday, a young black woman, 23-year-old national youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman, delivered an ode of astonishing rhetorical power to bless the swearing-in of an aging president. His appearance reflected the changing morale of the White House with its new occupant and anticipated a culture of inclusion that honors last year’s inconclusive racial recognition.
Late on a cold Washington night, it seemed like more than a few hours had passed since Trump took off from Joint Base Andrews as the bars of “My Way” faded over the end credits of an aberrational four-year period.
Difficult days ahead
Yet throughout the day there were reminders of the challenges that will decide the fate of Biden’s presidency, underscoring that while he nailed the first optics, the reality is a more difficult solution.
Speeches cannot correct the racial and economic inequality that marks America. A climate crisis is exacerbating the drought and forest fires. The Trump presidency has validated growing white nationalism. Overseas, a new power in the east, China, challenges US dominance.
The eerie silence that Biden’s caravan received as it drove to the White House through empty streets was a reminder of the safety net attached to Washington after Trump incited an insurrection against Congress just two weeks ago.
The new president is no fool, and he knows that many, including on his side, roll their eyes at his somewhat antiquated belief that America is one country, when millions of Trump voters falsely believe that he stole the election. .
“I know that talking about unity may sound like a silly fantasy to some,” he said in his inauguration speech. “I know that the forces that divide us are deep and real.”
But Biden made a compelling case that despite national fractures that are as deep as at any time since the Civil War, the American experiment is strong. Never mind that the country often seems to go in two culturally, racially, and socially separate directions.
“We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts,” Biden said. “If we show a little tolerance and humility, if we are willing to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes just for a moment.”
Those are good thoughts from a lifelong optimist. But the upcoming impeachment of former President Trump in the Senate is sure to reopen old wounds. Some of the executive actions Biden took Wednesday on climate and immigration will have already canceled potential Republican votes for their own purposes.
Biden: ‘We’ll get through this together’
The new White House will spend the first full day of Biden’s tenure on Thursday addressing the crushing threat of the pandemic, after more than 4,000 Americans died while inauguration commemorations took place.
While offering the tantalizing promise of a healthy future, Biden delivered a grim warning that the road ahead will be strewn with loss.
“We will need all of our strength to persevere through this dark winter,” he said, pleading that politics will finally be put aside during the horrible end of the pandemic. Biden’s candid talk was another notable break from the approach of his predecessor, who denied the virus was a problem, predicted it would miraculously disappear, and undermined his own government’s efforts to curb its murderous spread.
Biden’s proposed plan – mask wear, social distancing and a new push to accelerate a disastrously slow vaccine rollout – will require a concentrated effort from a united country; a metaphor, in a sense, for his entire philosophy and approach to the presidency.
“I promise you this: as the Bible says, crying may last one night, but joy comes in the morning. We will get through this together, ”Biden said.
The next few days will show if the new president’s faith in his country is justified.
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