Enhed, inklusion og demokratiets overlegenhed var i fokus i dag.
Democracy triumphed in the United States – let´s lift our gaze and see the things that lie ahead, not the things that separate us
Unity, inclusion and the superiority of democracy were in focus today.
I sat ready in front of the television. Seeing the democratic process work and previous presidents backing it up, calmed me down in my system. With Joe and Jill Biden, the leadership of the United States returns to a time when intelligence and facts are something you respect, not something you ridicule.
Finally the day came, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in as President and Vice President of the United States . Democracy won and the mob must pack away their baseball bats and automatic weapons while democratic processes prevail.
Bush was there, Clinton and Obama were there. And Pence was there. The Kamala Harris family was there, it’s a big day for them and for Americans with African American and Asian backgrounds.
The masks spoke their very own language. Pence and Bush sent strong signals with their flags and national symbols: the United States, patriotism and respect for the system go hand in hand. Several members of the Harris family wore glitter masks. All over the United States, little girls with golden skin are thinking, “Everything is possible for me in this country.”
And then there was the women’s attire. Both Kamala Harris, Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton wore purple, which is the color you get if you combine blue and red – the colors of the Democratic and Republican Party, now it’s time for unity and to stand together. Kamala Harris and her outfit are also an appreciative nod back to 1972, the year Shirley Chisholm , as the first African-American woman, ran as a presidential candidate for the Democrats. Perhaps the purple color was also a thank you to the swing states, often referred to as purple states.
It is important that Mike Pence, the former Vice President of the United States, attended today. Pence received no warm welcome from either the former Democratic presidents or from Bush. Up until the terrorist attack on the Congress building two weeks ago, Pence has faithfully stood side by side with Trump at various rallies and repeated his lies about election fraud. It must not be easy to stand among the political opponents he has so fiercely fought against and who despise him and his former boss.
For me, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris began their new jobs as country leaders yesterday. For the first time since the pandemic took place exactly one year ago, an official memorial service was held for the 400,000 Americans who lost their lives in the Corona pandemic. 400 lamps lit up along the Lincoln Memorials pool and Biden and Harris held memorial speeches. In New York, The Empire State Building lit up like a red, beating heart. Even before they were sworn in, they heralded new times and new tones.
Today Jennifer Lopez, who is Latina , sang ” this land is your land, this land is my land”, and I cried. That song I first heard, I put my legs in an American kindergarten, a few days after we had arrived in the United States. Even then, I got a lump in my throat over the text. The atmosphere that characterized the ceremony today was marked by an inclusion and a celebration of diversity that I experienced on my own body when I moved to the United States with my husband and two small children.
At the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris today, the focus was on the importance of unity despite differences. The United States is made up of people from very different places and with very different backgrounds. It is the foundation of America’s existence and success, and we must embrace and build on it.
Neither the last 4 years’ split, orchestrated from the highest place, nor the attack on the Congress building, the very symbol of American democracy 2 weeks ago, was swept under the rug. It was addressed so that the audience and people in front of the screens at home understood that democracy wins – always. It has done so for the last 244 years, every 4 years since 1789, and so it continues to be. If anything, Americans have been reminded of how valuable democracy is and that it can never be taken for granted.
Biden is a man who reaches out to his opponents. He spoke directly to them and asked them to listen and see what he would accomplish. If they then still disagree with him, then that’s ok, assured him. As long as it is peaceful and democratic. His speech focused on the United States having to learn from the past in order to build a future better than the one it took over.
Biden is well aware of what constitution the United States is in. The United States is in a dark time. Democracy is in crisis, the Corona pandemic is out of control, unemployment is huge, small businesses are fighting for their survival, racial unrest is raging in response to systematic racism, the climate is suffering and political extreme groups are ravaging.
If anyone knows Biden what it takes for a human being and a nation to heal. As a young man, he lost his wife and little girl in a tragic car accident. He later lost a son to cancer. When he talks about what it takes and how he wants to get the nation there, people believe in him. When he talks about inclusion, humility, empathy and compassion, you feel like opening your arms, putting yourself in the saddle and doing your part so that we can be the best version of ourselves, and thus work towards becoming a better nation.
There is hope for a better future. The next generation was represented by Amanda Gorman , an African-American poet, just 22 years old. She talked about unity in her impressively long. Gorman did not shy away from describing the events that shocked Americans and the world 2 weeks ago. But she used them as a springboard to paint a picture that gave hope and a sense that the United States can heal and unite. For the United States is not broken, just unfinished. The US has gotten some nasty scratches, but it still persists. There is always light in the dark if we are brave enough to see it – and be it ourselves.