It may be an unreasonable ask, but I don’t want any inaugural balls.
Sorry, Beyonce, sorry Garth Brooks, sorry John Legend, sorry Courtney Barnett and Brandi Carlisle, in my version of 2021, there will be no stages for you, not even virtually.
I mean, don’t you feel like Joe and Jill taking the stage in tux and gown for a first box step would be pretty fucking in appropriate while that COVID death toll marches on; while we’ve watched the Impeached Preznit Carnage Butthole Mississippi golf through most of it in his weirdly tight-fitting white polos and his belt-strangled Dockers? Don’t you think President Biden and Dr. Mrs. Joe Jill Biden attending 17 inaugural balls would smack of tossing paper towels to the masses? I sure do.
Take your oath. Go check out your new digs. Have a few meetings. Go to bed. No time for inaugural dress-up time.
We have shit to do.
On day one, I want a fresh new pandemic response. I want so many pronouncements from this new White House that it feels like four weeks in a day. It has to be immediately razor-edge clear to everyone in the world that this is a change. That this president wears masks. I want a publicly televised roundtable with Dr. Fauci and Dr. Redfield and Dr. Birx, and I want Biden to be nodding his head a lot. I want an immediate, full-stop activation of the Defense Production Act, and I want clearly-stated benchmarks for that effort. I want a strong statement from the president encouraging governors—especially those in high-positivity states—to once again roll back on social interaction, on economic activity, on large gatherings, and to encourage masks and keeping a safe distance from other humans.
I want a federal commitment to contact tracing and announced partnerships with Apple and Google to create a single, cross-platform, universal contact-tracing app that is utterly intuitive for the end-user and yet robust enough to collect adequate data to contribute to widespread tracing and quarantine efforts. I want this and a universal test that delivers results in an hour, an antibody test that works, and honest, warts-and-all disclosures about the efficacy of a vaccine.
I want work started on day one to fix the Affordable Care Act, but with a new focus on public health. And that focus shouldn’t just be a domestic effort. The United States needs to repair its standing with the World Health Organization as the rubber meets the road and needs to reclaim its position as a global leader on public health. Even George W. Bush understood this.
I want words from the new president that anchor economic success to the eradication of SARS-CoV-2. And I want an unprecedented stimulus package to leave President Biden’s for consideration by the newly-minted Democratic Senate and the now-stronger Democratic House.
Then we can get to Jan. 22.
It’s the pandemic, stupid.