After a year of holding our breaths and trying to dodge the invisible plague that violated our country as haphazardly and deadly as Trump’s missives and tweets, the curtains finally parted yesterday into light. Sweet light, with positivism and pledges to unify, a centering on humanity instead of malicious self-service. Immense relief felt that AT LAST, a man who speaks in complete sentences is in charge.
Christo couldn’t have designed an absent audience for the National Mall with more aesthetic aplomb: wheat fields of flags rippling and gesturing in a sea of stripes. And the vocal artistry was epic to current times: Lady Gaga’s emotional rendition of America followed by J-Lo, Garth Brooks and a poignant poetic reading by the young seer Amanda Gordon.
In the end, the Grinch who tried to steal Christmas, as well as the Elections, trundled off, still muttering incoherently. No pomp and glory; he slunk away as a memory of bitter distaste and mass ridicule. In the radiant, artful, caring ceremonies that filled the morning, his name never emerged even once.
At least Pence had the good grace to attend and uphold the tradition of being escorted down the Capitol steps by the incoming Vice President, she who serves as a heroine in so many ways. There was no missing the honest camaraderie between the ex-Presidential figures and their families in attendance. Biden was a lion in their midst, a royal presence quietly observing. In his grand speech he reigned, stoic and reassuring. Embracing the nation, he renewed in us a breath of promise and hope, a sense of stepping beyond the broken body of what has been.
Trump was not only hobbled by his ego, but a steadfast refusal to acknowledge what scientists and medical experts declared in unison. His art of divisions left visible carnage, not just between race and gender but separating families, imprisoning children, praising the dark lords who worshipped him and sacrificing everyone else. His lack of work ethic and criminality was beyond inhumane, worse than a drug lord. While hundreds of thousands took their last Covid-wracked breaths, he paid homage to swiping turf at luxury golf clubs. Police departments–under his direction–brutalized unaramed protestors, his sanctioned militia ripped open the tendons of those they caught and zip tied. Blood from boxcutters and sneers in the dark while 45 was teeing off on private courses, having delegated international duties to his opportunistic son-in-law.
We had almost given up in despair admidst the pandemic of threats and tantrums from this President, while his First Lady proudly oversaw century-old rose gardens destroyed. The assaults of January 6th scarred and scared the populace, but finally ignited the fence-straddlers to drop and flee, snarling at all his shortcomings and long goings-on. Not only the Capitol was set ablaze, but the mindset of once-devoted followers. It was a pivotal move in the right direction.
Richard Brautigan could not have imagined how these words he penned would someday welcome a new political horizon :
“Lions are growing like yellow roses on the wind and we turn gracefully in the medieval garden of their roaring blossoms. Oh, I want to turn… Oh, I am turning. Oh, I have turned. Thank you”.