Exhale

It was 363 days ago today that Preznit Carnage One-Term Loser Insurrection Inciter was first asked—by CNBC’s Joe Kernen at the World Economic Forum in Davos—about coronavirus, and he answered: “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. It’s going to be just fine.”

From that day to yesterday, there was no serious official acknowledgement expressed of the national grief over 400,000 lives lost so far. It’s astonishing to realize this, especially when this absence of recognition was only brought to cognition, at least for me, when the President-Elect and Vice-President Elect made this remembrance an official act, perhaps the first official act of the nascent administration, yesterday.

It was a tasteful, simple gesture, the incoming chief executive and his veep and their partners, stationed at the base of the Lincoln Memorial, with the Washington Monument and Capitol building in view via the Reflecting Pool, which was always my favorite spot to visit and reflect in Washington. The Reflecting Pool had been festooned with 400 lights to represent the 400,000 lives lost. Each spoke briefly. Detroit nurse Lori Marie Key sang “Amazing Grace.” Gospel singer Yolanda Adams sang “Hallelujah.” The four then turned toward those monuments for a moment of silence.

“It’s hard sometimes to remember, but that’s how we heal. It’s important to do that as a nation,” said Biden. Contrast this with “it is what it is” from our beloved Preznit Carnage.

This contrast is going to be a weird feeling for a while, like getting one’s eyes dilated. Like that healing itch. Like waking from a nightmare so real you swore you could hear the bumps.

As I write this, the Inaugural has just ended. I have taken the day off from work because I knew I would be useless to my team today. Having witnessed via the boob tube the Capitol incursion of Jan. 6, I have to say that the “Star-Spangled Banner” has never seemed such a salient tune as it was today, as the glorious Lady Gaga turned to the flapping stars-and-stripes above her, gestured to it, and declared in song that it was “still there.” Just weeks ago, at a president’s behest, an organized band of troglodytes actually tried to replace that flag; actually walked through that building’s center bearing the alleged symbol of the long-failed confederacy; actually replaced our country’s legitimate flag with ugly blue banners bearing that boarish, ostentatious, and now-shunned brand: “Trump.”

My most striking takeaway from Biden’s speech was his own nod to President Lincoln:

In another January, on New Year’s Day in 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the emancipation proclamation. When he put pen to paper, the president said, and I quote, “if my name ever goes down into history, it’ll be for this act, and my whole soul is in it.”

“My whole soul is in it.” Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this: bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation. And I ask every American to join me in this cause.

I believe him. And that is so reassuring. Because the last guy’s soul was all in his own ass. And even if the last guy possessed the literacy to quote Lincoln so effectively, the minute “my soul is in it” left his lips, you’d still know he was lying and that his soul is actually in his ass.

And how nice is it that entertainers no longer need to grit their teeth regarding the presidency? Trump had Lee Greenwood, Toby Keith and The Piano Guys. With Biden, we got Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, and ! Garth Brooks, who always reminds me how good he is, as he did today. And, if this Inaugural did anything good, it introduced the nation to a poet so good they had to create a new Laureate post for her (I made that up, but admit it, it is plausible): Amanda Gorman, you today blew my mind.

Oh, I cannot wait for serious, policy-minded humans to be in charge again. I cannot wait to see a person in the Oval Office who does not perpetually hold a six-year-old’s notion in mind of what a president is or what they do. President Biden (man do I melt when I type this) has been left with the most arduous circumstances on the ground of anyone to take the oath before. Dude has a lot of work to do, and this is not going to be a cakewalk.

But Preznit Carnage no longer has the football. We can all exhale.

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