Worried but hopeful citizens of democracies all over the planet heaved a sigh of relief upon finally witnessing the peaceful and orderly transition of power in the United States of America during the inauguration of Joseph R. Biden.
There were no cheering crowds to greet America’s new president because of the Covid-19 pandemic that has already claimed 400,000 lives in the USA due to misplaced priorities of the previous administration.
Security was tight, with an unprecedented 25,000 members of the National Guard standing watch to prevent a repeat of the January 6 insurrection that saw their country’s Capitol besieged by domestic terrorists, egged on by their twice-impeached leader who was willing to sacrifice democracy after being unable to accept a resounding electoral defeat.
The orderly inauguration of the 46th president of the USA, despite tumultuous elections and a horrific aftermath, shines a ray of hope for the peoples of the world whose democracies and freedoms are also in peril. The American people decided enough was enough and took advantage of their elections to choose a different direction for their country by electing a new leader. Their democratic ideals and institutions were severely tested, but it ultimately prevailed and power officially changed hands yesterday.
In an era where democracies are being tested, all eyes were on the USA these past few months. We watched with bated breath as legitimate election resultswere attacked with misinformation and lies by no other than their own President. We saw that outgoing president gather and incite an angry mob to attack their own Capitol in a last ditch effort to overturn his election loss. It could’ve gone either way, but the strength of their institutions allowed their democracy to weather the storm and power was ultimately transferred to hopefully better and more capable hands.
The Philippines will be having our own elections in 15 months. At this point, let us hope and pray that our democracy, not be tested by our own budding dictators and autocrats. However, if it does happen, let us also pray that our systems and institutions can handle the test and those who have sworn to defend it from threats, external and internal, are up to the task.*