The Inauguration: A Sigh of Relief


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WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 20: (L-R) Doug Emhoff, U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Jill Biden and President-elect Joe Biden wave as they arrive on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol for the inauguration on January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Tara Lauther

On January 20, 2021, Joseph R. Biden Jr. was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States and Kamala Harris was inaugurated as vice president. It was the largest gathering that I had seen on television in a while: everyone in view was masked and dressed for the occasion. The inauguration was both stressful and a sigh of relief; after the Capitol Riots, there was worry of an attack during the inauguration. It was a relief to many, including myself,  to see President Biden take office.  

Some of the VIPS in attendance included former Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush and former first ladies Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Laura Bush. The ladies of the inauguration worked powerful monochrome outfits. Former President Trump and his family were absent from the inauguration proceedings: causing him to go down in history (infamously) for the second time that week. Trump is the first President since Nixon to miss his successor’s inauguration. I found this behavior childish and it was not a strong finish to Trump’s presidency. He has dropped the baton, his Twitter permanently banned: Trump’s time is now done. 

This election was a historic one. Kamala Harris is the first South Asian American, African American, and female vice president in American history. This is inspiring to many women and people of color, myself included. This is the highest position of authority in the United States that a woman has risen to. At 244 years old, I believe it is due time for our nation. We have always been told that girls and women can do anything a man can; we are closer to saying that they can and have. As the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “Women belong where decisions are being made.” 

It was refreshing to see the smiling Biden family enter the capitol building. There were several iconic moments in the inauguration, from Lady Gaga singing the national anthem to Senator Bernie Sanders bundled up with a pair of mittens. Sanders’s mittens broke the Internet as the senator was photoshopped into scenes throughout cinema history. NPR reported that the mittens were gifted to Sanders by school teacher Jen Ellis. This wholesome moment added to the sunny day of proceedings. 

Biden’s speech placed heavy emphasis on a more united America. President Biden said the people must unite against violence, disunity, lawlessness, disease, joblessness, and hopelessness. The President said that as in each previous setback, enough of us have come together to push past it. We need to see each other as neighbors and treat each other with dignity and respect. Lincoln’s legacy made an appearance in the speech as well. This time, it wasn’t former President Trump comparing himself to Lincoln. Biden reiterated Lincoln’s sentiment regarding the Emancipation Proclamation: that his whole soul was in his work. Biden said, “Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this. Bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation.” 

Historically, the first one hundred days of office are the president’s most important days. Since his first week of office, Biden issued 22 executive orders. As stated by the White House’s website (, these orders addressed the climate crisis, rejoining the Paris Agreement, COVID-19 related economic relief, reopening schools, protecting worker health and safety, and preserving DACA.

These past weeks have brought hope and action for a new approach to tackling the pandemic. While this can be exciting and enchanting, it is important not to idolize our politicians. Just as we held former President Trump accountable for his actions, we must continue to hold our politicians accountable, including President Biden. We have to pay attention to the media and venture into sources we may disagree with. At last we are taking steps towards a more compassionate, equal, and united America.