127. Poetic Hope

Thursday January 21 2021

A beautiful and majestic Presidential Inauguration yesterday, no matter how your political views fall. The color commentaries today are all about the symbolic rainbow of women’s coats, the pitch-perfect performance of the National Anthem by Lady Gaga, an unrecognizable, blue-jeaned Garth Brooks (where’s your had, dude?) singing Amazing Grace, and the heart-warming goodness of Bernie Sanders’ home-made gifted mittens.

But the rising star among those presenting was the poet laureate Amanda Gorman who recited her “The Hill We Climb.” At the age of 22, Ms. Gorman is the youngest poet laureate to perform at a presidential inauguration and she knocked all of us back with her old-soul view of our country’s current state. A woman of color, she didn’t waste time placing blame, but instead spoke of finding the strength that lives alongside our flaws. Through her words, she wants us to develop a unity as a nation who also has the freedom of a million diversities. Listening to her, her poem gave me those ever-rare goosebumps. A transcript of her full poem is here on Oprahmag.com.

And so we lift our gaze, not to what stands between us, but what stands before us
We close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside.

Amanda Gorman
excerpt from The HIll We Climb

So yeah, Joe Biden is now the 46th President of the United States of America, with Kamala Harris as the 49th Vice President. With the exception of the Oprah Mag link above, all the other links will take you to the full Inauguration on CNBC News.

Former President Trump and his wife took their final flight on Air Force One to their Florida home, landing about the same time as President Biden’s speech, while former Vice President Mike Pence filled in for Trump as a guest at the inauguration. Trump did give a farewell speech before he left, graciously wishing the new administration well, while never mentioning Biden by name. Pence popped out a final tweet from the VP Twitter account, thanking everyone for their support and posting a few photos, none of them with Trump. The political analysts are not needed for these symbolic burned bridges.

Through all the lack of decorum since November, Trump did follow the tradition of leaving a parting note to his successor. A private kind of thing, being a personal note from 45 to 46, it’s not meant for our eyes. Biden did say that it was a “very generous letter,” which gives us an image of two gentlemen at odds trying to find a common ground to stand. That’s a nice thought that I’ll stick with, if just for mental health purposes. For a sense of well-being, you could look at some of the previous notes left for those few who reached the highest office in our great nation here.

In the meantime, President Biden signed more than a dozen executive orders before the day was over. Many of them were intended to overturn orders put in place over the last four years, with some to help with the coronavirus efforts, but there were other orders on immigration that leave a few folk feeling edgy in a “can’t we talk about this first” way.

We remain a nation divided and it feels like this is the widest chasm within my lifetime. Those born a generation before me may remember when our first Catholic president in 1961 was a controversy because of the concern of our nation’s leader becoming a puppet of the pope. Now we have our second Catholic president a full sixty years later and any concern for his religiosity is tossed to the wayside in exchange for the supposed socialism his administration will enforce upon us.

Nonsense, of course. The citizens of the United States of America are of many minds and nearly just as many agendas. We’ll continue to change, to adapt, and evolve. But we’ll also continue to be strong.

Because, dammit, we have Bernie and his mittens to unite us.

I’ve been waiting for Grumpy Chic to come back in style. I’m so going to rock this look. Again.

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