It’s no secret that we at The Prompt are pretty vehemently anti-Trump. That we are ardent supporters of justice and democracy. That we really can’t wait for that guy to be out of the White House forever. The months between the election and now have been incredibly tumultuous, reaching their nadir on January 6th, when insurrectionists invaded the U.S. Capitol with the intention of subverting the will of the American electorate.
But today, two impossibly long weeks later, we finally get to see the inauguration of the 46th President of the United States. So, we asked our staff…
Never before have I felt such terror or anxiety over an inauguration. After the 2016 election, I expressed worry over what such a leader would inspire in others. Now in 2021, I see my worst warnings come true. Never before have I wished to be more wrong.
All I want is for January 20th, 2021 to come and pass without incident.
I feel like I am working the last hour of the longest shift of my life, and I cannot relax until my replacement is present and on the clock. Granted, we have so much more to do after this inauguration passes, but at least we won’t have to do it under the shadow of a fear-mongering, hateful, narcissistic fascist.
On Wednesday, I will watch the inauguration and try to enjoy it, but know I’ll be holding my breath until the day ends. In light of terrifying recent events and news reports, it’s difficult to not consider what could happen as our leaders gather at the Capitol for the swearing in of President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris. At times, my mind gets caught on the fear of the horrible things that could occur, my imagination cycling on a loop of dread.
And yet, I am also hopeful. If everything goes smoothly, I am praying we will see a change of pace veering towards calm, one where we can rebuild and begin to have civil dialogue. Where each time a breaking news alert comes across my phone, I am not thinking it’s going to impact the future of our democracy.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I have this feeling of “Can we just get this thing over with?” It’s been such a long 4 years, an even longer 78 days between Election and Inauguration Day, and the longest 2 weeks with the nation walking on eggshells while holding off an insurrection.
We’re not permitted to gather on the National Mall to witness this historic moment, not because there is a global pandemic, but instead because it is cordoned off by temporary fencing, 20,000+ National Guard troops, and a Green Zone perimeter preventing a mob from subverting the will of the American electorate through violence.
I thought I’d feel relieved. I thought I’d be excited. I thought I’d be celebrating. Soon enough we will. But for now, I’m waiting impatiently.
I’m surprisingly indifferent—because if I feel anything else, I find myself in an unending rage cycle.
As someone who was always taught to do right by others, it’s the subsequent trauma of a lifetime of “doing what’s right” and getting shafted by others, but now it’s being played out on a national stage.
Four years ago, WE accepted the results. WE were part of a peaceful transition. WE gave him the inauguration he wanted. These were all tenets so deeply honored by our government, that they were considered sacrosanct—even as WE felt the collective fear and despair to our cores.
WE did everything right, and what do THEY give us in return? A traitorous attack on the Capitol with elected officials who respond with a shrug.
And no matter what happens on Wednesday, we’re stuck with all the vitriolic brain rot propagated over the past four years by Tr*mp, Fox News, and his horrific cult members.
While Joe Biden may represent restorative justice, nothing about his forthcoming administration has indicated that it will be transformative. And while the nation may have exercised a collective sigh of relief, there are 74 million people who voted to maintain the status quo, that of whiteness as the dominant caste that must be maintained by all means necessary as we witnessed on January 6th, 2021, when the pubescent volatility of white male rage was manifested and elucidated for the world to see.
The question remains: Why has this country always been more pusillanimous when it comes to Black, Brown, and Indigenous liberation and equity than the specter of white “supremacy”? And the challenge for all of us, Sisyphean as it may be, will be to eviscerate the root causes of harms that will tear this nation asunder. Until we delve into the dark, root causes—white “supremacy,” patriarchy, and colonization—of the quintessential threats of our time (COVID, climate change, and rising economic/social inequality), all proposed solutions will be nothing more than short-term palliatives.
I wouldn’t trade places with Joe Biden for all the bourbon in the state of the soon to be minority leader of the U.S. Senate—because me and mine are going to hold his feet to the fire before we all burn together consumed in it. Let’s see what you can do, Joe.
I basically can’t stand pomp and circumstance (the act OR the song (which is why Kelaine and I did not attend each other’s graduation ceremonies—but I digress)). Don’t talk about it, be about it, and all that jazz. So even in the best of times, an inauguration gets a Liz Lemon-sized eyeroll from me.
This year, when there are active threats against a new administration and thunderous sounds are either confetti cannons or full-on guerrilla warfare, I think the foolishness of hosting a grand event is of the “dangerous” as opposed to just the “frivolous” variety.
Unfortunately, image counts for a lot, especially in this post-truth era, so the show must go on. My sincere wish would be a virtual event so vast in scale, scope, and splendor that it “shifted the paradigm” so far that in-person events looked quaint (and simultaneously underscored that pandemic prevention is a top priority with 46). But that’s not what’s on deck for January 20th, so I’ll echo my colleagues looking ahead to days that follow.
I don’t disagree with what’s been said in this li’l thread. The outgoing prez is depraved, the pandemic is shitty, and the U.S. is fucked up.
But also, I choose to feel joy. On Wednesday I will put on a sparkly outfit and switch on a solid huckleberry jam, because we are witnessing:
🤜 The most progressive U.S. presidential platform of all time
🤜 The first female + black + Indian VP
🤜 Both houses of U.S. Congress held by the more progressive party
🤜 The transcendental coexistence of Beyoncé, Lizzo, AOC, & Stacey Abrams
No panacea here. But we need something to celebrate.