Today is the first day of President Biden and Vice President Harris’s administration and I can feel myself cracking open. It is as finding an oasis in the desert. The tender shoots of spring are finally peeking out from under a blanket of snow. The last four years have been heavy, a burden on our minds, hearts, and heads. There will be those that seek and destroy the evils that have been unleashed in our nation but much like Pandora’s box, hope remains. And today I am feeling hope melt into the spaces that fear, disappointment, and lies had occupied during the previous administration.
The words I wish to share: freedom, confidence, trust, resilience, and hope. Hope that we are exactly where we are intended to be in the world, that our leaders will carry the torch of justice and equity into their daily works and that these United States will be re-anointed with the support of our allies and friends in the world. We have driven back the darkness for one more day.
Once again we have been reminded of the fragility of democracy. More clearly than ever we see the necessary exercise of investing time and attention into whom we elect and why. The arrival of Biden an Harris is not an end to political discord or challenge, for we must continue to fight for those things we believe in and want most from our government and elected leaders. However, it is an end of our federal executive’s support for hate and fear mongering. We are not what we fear, we are not what we hate. This nation is made up of what we love, what we hope, and what we dream. Our most powerful dreams and the idea that we are free, nee obligated, to pursue them is a concept that is uniquely American.
We are selfish and spoiled, self-focused and obsessed. But we are not evil, we are not consumed by hatred. We are still a young nation and every youth rebels and rejects what is known in an attempt to find what fits. We have learned from this rebellion, this white supremacist attack on our collective beliefs and our Capitol building, that we are not what we hate. Those rioters sought to destroy, threaten, and steal that which belongs to the people, to all of us. They did not succeed.
Sadly, lives were lost and harm was done – looting, violence, the damage to our collective consciousness. However yesterday a new dawn broke through, a new President and Vice President were sworn in, a Youth National Poet Laureate shook us to our roots, and voices raised in song celebrated our Nation’s new victory over threats to our democracy.
I was particularly struck the the words of the oath of office, “against threats both foreign and domestic.” Not even a sentence, often a blip we skim over to get to the seriousness of business. This week those words felt necessary, the gravity of their intention clear, the duty of our elected officials is to serve the people and to do their best to serve the best interests of our nation.
Today as my heart is cracking open, as I feel the need to wash the last four years out of my hair. I remember only the lessons, the all too important and easily forgotten message, we are in this together. Today is a new and shining day. There is hope. We have each other and we will move forward stronger and more certain in our roles as citizens, public servants, and as one Nation Under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All.