As we bring this second year of the pandemic to a close, we need to celebrate our ability to be together even when we’re distant. My heart stopped when all the virtual singers joined in. This is the new world. I hope that even when we’re able to be together in person again, we won’t stop gathering this way.
[There’s a Mormon bit at the end, so unless you want to see it, stop the video when the piece is done.]
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in yesterday as our new president and vice-president. They did a great job with a pandemic-limited ceremony, using videos from all across the country and territories as a virtual parade. Then there was an evening celebration with a few singers and speakers live at the Lincoln Memorial, and others on video, along with segments dedicated to ordinary heroes. And the most incredible fireworks display I’ve ever seen! It took place behind the Washington Monument so it was mirrored in the reflecting pool that stretches from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial. It was programmed to Katy Perry singing “Firework”. It was way better than the usual round of inaugural balls! And I bet the Bidens and Emhoff-Harrises were a lot happier, too. Dragging around to all those balls must be absolutely exhausting, at the end of an already exhausting day.
It’s more than a relief to have Trump out of office. I feel like I can be proud to be an American again, instead of sick with shame. I’m hopeful for the changes Biden & Harris will be able to make now that the Democrats have a slight majority in the Senate, putting Mitch McConnell out of the power seat there. Plus, Harris is the deciding vote in the event of a tie, so we should be able to get some things passed. Like more COVID relief money for small businesses and individuals to help both them and the economy. And at least a move towards a better health care system and more equitable distribution of wealth. And, thank God, an improvement in foreign relations.
On a sad note, the COVID-19 death toll in the U.S. is now over 400,000. And infection rates are climbing rapidly again due to a new coronavirus variant that’s more contagious than the first one. It doesn’t seem to be more deadly, as far as they can tell at this point, but it does mean a higher infection rate and more strain on the healthcare system that’s already well beyond overloaded.
Yesterday was a ray of light in the darkness, though. It was just what I needed right now.
(I’ve always thought of Katy Perry as a lightweight pop star, which she was before. But this performance knocked it out of the park. I’ll have to start giving her more credit now.)
Didn’t think I’d still be writing this in 2021. Looks like I’ll be writing it for most of this year, too.
I couldn’t write anything last week because it was all too awful. We’re setting record highs for COVID deaths at 4,000/day. And on 6 January, Trump incited a mob to storm the Capitol building where a joint session of Congress was completing the final ritual of confirming the Electoral College votes. Trump held a rally outside the building an hour before the session started and told his followers to “fight” for their rights. So they stormed the Capitol, smashing through bullet-proof windows with flagpoles and wood from the barricade they’d crossed. It was a sight I never imagined seeing here in America.
There’s a lot to say about it, but I don’t want to write that much. This song by Nanci Griffith from the late 1980s has been in my head all week.