My wife and I stayed up Wednesday night to watch the inauguration of Joseph R. Biden, the 46th president of the United States of America and his Vice President Kamala Harris, the first woman of color and South Asian descent to ever hold that post.
We stayed up to watch a symbolic triumph of democracy over the shenanigans of a wannabe autocrat because we needed a shot of hope and inspiration from real life current events and not a Disney animated movie.
To be fair to twice-impeached Donald J. Trump, he did keep the world on tenterhooks until the last possible moment when he and his pompous family anti-climactically faded into the woodwork of history.
The USA Murrica’d itself when it was forced to send 25,000 troops from the National Guard to the Capitol for inauguration day to defend democracy. It had to prevent a repeat of the January 6 attempted coup that spectacularly failed because the people orchestrating it only had a half-baked plan. Trump succeeded inciting his followers into storming the US Capitol, but the problem was they had no idea what to do once they breached the poorly defended government building.
The MAGA crowd scuffled with the cops, caused chaos, and failed at hunting down the objects of their ire but their “revolt” caused the death of 6. After wandering around aimlessly and getting bored without further instructions from the leaders of their revolution, the insurrectionists went home. Pundits noted they were non-violently escorted out by cops who would’ve beaten them black and blue or even shot them dead had they been non-MAGA people of color legitimately and peacefully assembling to demand justice and reforms.
That stunt at the Capitol got Mr. Trump impeached within a week. Thankfully, enough of his party mates had the common sense and decency to consider this behavior and actions impeachable. Had the impeachment failed, Trump might’ve tried again and the mettle of the 25,000 troops in the Capitol would’ve been put to the test. What is worst for Donald is that he got booted out of Twitter and Facebook, his weapons of choice for spreading lies and misinformation.
Two weeks after the failed siege, Mr. Trump is out of the White House and Joe Biden is the new occupant. Their democracy almost broke but somehow held fast because enough of their “representatives” found their backbones and chose country over cult. It took an insurrection and the desecration of their hallowed place of work to open their eyes and take necessary action to protect their nation from further damage.
The USA was fortunate because its democratic institutions, systems and protections kicked in and ensured the culmination of their elections that is the imminent transfer of power. This is what their sore loser self-serving president was fighting against and lost. Trump could dazzle his base, bully his party, even threaten his Vice President to throw out election results but he couldn’t do anything against the system that he tried to degrade and ignore while in power.
Seeing and listening to a coherent, decent and well-meaning leader of a free country seeking to inspire instead of threaten, speak of hope and unity instead of death and punishment, and deliver a speech that was actually worth listening to was a revelation. President Joe Biden didn’t make crazy promises he couldn’t keep but what mattered to me was feeling his sincerity through the screen. He made me feel optimistic about their future. Hearing his words made me realize how much I missed listening to a politician talk sense. The green monster of jealousy started rearing its head and I wished with all my heart the same for our country.
The Americans are fortunate. They can raise their standards for competence and decency once again. Joe Biden won’t be able to spend his days tweeting and golfing because they expect him to be presidential and lead their broken nation. Members of his cabinet will be scrutinized for integrity and performance and those who mess things up continually should expect to be replaced. They are searching high and low for their best of the best.
Will we feel the same when it is our country’s turn to change leaders in a little more than a year from now? Will we feel the hope that Americans are feeling after they have democratically removed a terrible leader with seemingly no redeeming qualities after enduring through the guy’s term of office?
The funny thing about the world is that good and bad is relative and while a segment of society is euphoric that Trump has been replaced, a different segment still see him as worthy of their vote. But that is the beauty of democracy. We the people theoretically get to choose our leaders and we either enjoy or suffer from our choices. Whatever you think of your current leader, it is your duty to support and campaign for whoever you think is the better choice.Those who feel nothing about the state of their country and its future probably don’t vote anyway so they can merrily continue on their “neutral” and apathetic ways.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that we are on our own and we have to work for the change we want. If you want to feel good instead of terribly depressed on our own inauguration day a year and a half from now, now is a good time as any to work for it. America’s Joe Biden didn’t get elected by magic. His party and supporters worked their butts off to get him where he is now. Whether or not the Philippines gets our own Joe Biden and Kamala Harris moment depends on what we do starting today.*