High hopes held in historic inauguration

Esteban Serrano, Lead Editor

It has already been a week since Joseph R. Biden, Jr. took the oath of office to become President of the United States. Since then, he and his Vice President, Kamala Harris, have already signed more than 40 executive orders having to do with equity, diversity, the climate crisis, and the ongoing pandemic.

This all comes after President Donald Trump challenged the 2020 Election results, and lost multiple lawsuits in multiple states. He was also accused of having spread misinformation across multiple platforms such as Twitter. The social media giant, ultimately terminating his account. He was even accused of initiating the riot on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, as Congress was in the process of approving final electoral numbers for the upcoming term.

Former President Bill Clinton, Former First Lady Hillary Clinton, Former Vice President Mike Pence, Senator Mitch McConnell, Former President Barack Obama and his family, and Senator Bernie Sanders, who was made into memes across the internet by the way he was sitting at the Inauguration, was also in attendance.

On Inauguration Day, limited amounts of people were present on the cold morning in Washington D.C. Here at Central, history teachers Gloria Oropez and Don Nelson, had their own reactions to the historic ceremony as well as some analytics on what has happened and what might be to come.

Oropez, shares her general reactions to the Inauguration saying, “As a history teacher,  I make sure to keep abreast of current events, especially when it comes to historical events such as presidential inaugurations.  The first thing that struck me about this inauguration was how different it was from previous ones. Due to the pandemic and security concerns there were not the usual audience and the traditional pomp and circumstance of previous inaugurations.  However, despite this noticeable difference, President Biden’s inauguration was well organized and had the traditional speeches and performances. His inaugural speech appeared sincere and focused on giving American a sense of optimism, noting that he will be the President of all Americans.  He further emphasized a need for equality and unity in order to move our country towards a better future.”

Kamala Harris in particular, has broken historic barriers this Election. Many are the firsts in U.S. History.

“Historically speaking, having the first female and Black and Asian woman, to me, what’s taken so long?” Nelson says. “When I first sat down and saw the Democratic debates… Kamala was on my radar.”

Oropez, also sharing her observations on the historical event. “As a female and a mother of two Mexican-American daughters, this moment was very moving and historical.” She continues, “I teach about the struggles women have had to go through to get equality. Being able to witness Kamala Harris become our first woman Vice President with my daughters, is something that is very memorable and I am glad I was around to witness this historic event.”

Nelson says another historic reason is “having 250,000 National Guardsmen around and having very few normal citizens there. I though that too was a bit unusual.”

In an article by John Bacon, Jorge L. Ortiz, and Tom Vanden Brook of USA Today, 12 National Guards troops had to be removed from the operation after “questionable behavior” was detected in a screening done by the security. This included threats made from Trump supporters within those troops.

Oropez talks about more ways that this Inauguration was historic. “First, what made President Biden’s inauguration historically unique was that the outgoing president did not attend the inauguration for the changing of the guard and this has not happened in 152 years.  Secondly, Biden inauguration, like the other 45 presidents before him, is unique since  you have a new executive, with his own platform moving into the White House.  Biden has a  momentous task ahead of him having to deal with a pandemic, a poor economy, and a divided country. However, in the end, and most important aspect about Biden’s inauguration on January 20th 2021, was that it symbolized a peaceful transition of power which has been part of our democracy for more than 200 years.”

Trump did not attend Biden’s Inauguration, marking a historic action in what is supposed to be a peaceful transition of power. Nelson says, “To me, it shows a lack of character in Mr. Trump. I compare it to LeBron James after he lost his very first NBA Championship. No class, he went straight to the dressing room, he did not shake anyone’s hand… I thought it was a lack of class.”

Trump had failed to concede for months, and afterward, eventually went through with the transition untraditionally.

Another shocking statistic of the day to some, was the fact that Mike Pence ultimately showed up to the Inauguration. This comes even after Pence refused to take Trump’s side in overturning the election results. Another shocking reason would be the heat during last year’s Vice Presidential debate between Harris and Pence. Harris being cut off by Pence in the middle of a sentence, and going through with her most infamous line of that debate, “Mr. Vice President, I am speaking…”

Nelson shares his thought on the topic, saying, “The winner is from the voice of the people,” Nelson says. “Yes, Trump did go through procedures to contest it, which legally, he had the right to. But, when the answers kept coming back as “sorry Trump, were sticking with what we got,” I think there was a point in time where Trump’s lack of character prevented him from even acknowledging that.”

Nelson continues on to say, “Whenever you see a debate, I can see both sides getting on edge. But once the debate is over, to me it’s like an athletic contest. It’s competition, and once the competition is over with, I feel like you don’t need to hold grudges, you just need to accept what reality is and move on.”

Nelson, was supposed to take a limited and select group of students to Washington to witness the history being made. Sadly, after almost a year of preparing, the pandemic terminated their trip entirely. Nelson saying, “I was more disappointed for the young men that signed up, and wanted to go. Most of them had never been to Washington and I’ve been twice and to me it is such a cool place.”

He continues, “To see something or be part of an Inauguration would leave lasting memories in these young men’s heads.” But he continues on to say, “I felt a lot better by not going.” He says do in part that he “didn’t want the young men to be a part of that or to see any of that or possibly get injured.”

All eyes are now on President Biden as he moves forward with his first 100 days in office, following his Inauguration. In those first amongst those first 100 days and months following, his health team is projecting 200 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by the summer. Hopefully, immunizing the country and ending the pandemic.

Erin Schaff-The New York Times
Erin Schaff-The New York Times
Ian Hutchinson
Andy Feliciotti