Fri | Feb 26, 2021

A new beginning for United States

Published:Friday | January 22, 2021 | 12:06 AM


The insurrection in the United States (US) two weeks ago created much anxiety about the January 20 presidential inauguration, and if could proceed without incident. Fortunately, it did. The ceremony was powerful, with beautiful moments, symbolisms and messages of hope and unity. Finally, the Trump era is behind us. We will not miss the lies and indecency of a president who was selfish, narcissist and arrogant. In his final two weeks, Trump was banned from social media, losing his voice and the platform where he preached divisiveness, hate and fear, and where he tweeted insults almost daily. Leadership is about setting an example and delivering the right tone and messaging, and behaving like a responsible adult.

Fortunately, Trump boycotted all events; his presence would have been toxic and distracting. After four years of chaos and uncertainty, we are starting to see signs of normality returning to the US. I believe many insurgents might’ve been moved (even minimally) by the uplifting words of unity, hope and healing; this was complemented by musical performances from megastars, prayers, poetry, and, of course, Biden’s powerful speech. The day before the inauguration, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris hosted a tribute of lights, songs and prayers at the Lincoln Memorial to honour the over 400,000 Americans who died during the pandemic, a sharp contrast to the lack of empathy and compassion under the previous administration. Another proud moment was the swearing in of VP Kamala Harris, who has Jamaican and South Asian roots, and the first woman of colour to hold the office of vice-president of the United States .

The sight of former Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton was a strong display of solidarity and unity. I was also impressed with the first official press briefing by new White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, which was handled with diplomacy, decorum and dignity.

The road ahead will not be easy, but there is hope. In the words of Amanda Gorman, national youth Poet Laureate, who wrote the inspiring poem The Hill We Climb, which she recited at the end of the inauguration, the last stanza reads:

“We will rebuild, reconcile and recover

In every known nook of our nation, in every corner called our country,

our people diverse and beautiful will emerge battered and beautiful.

When day comes, we step out of the shade aflame and unafraid.

The new dawn blooms as we free it.

For there is always light.

If only we’re brave enough to see it.

If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

And as the day ended with a magnificent inauguration concert, packed with A-list stars, and a spectacular fireworks display above the Capitol Buildings, one couldn’t help but feel relieved.