I feel so much better today. My (metaphorical) four-year Trump headache has gone away, thanks to the healing power of watching Joe Biden being inaugurated.
Biden is going to be a great president, I'm confident of that. But even if he turns out to be only an average president, that's hugely better than the sorry excuse of a president Donald Trump was.
Most Americans are going to find it easy to admire Biden's warmth, empathy, and concern for both our country and the world at large. I suspect he will be akin to Roaald Reagan. Those on the other side of the political divide won't like Biden's policies, but in general they will like the man.
One thing that impressed me was how, at 7 pm Eastern time, a press conference was held at the White House briefing room. Shock! The Trump administration held very few press conferences, because truthfulness wasn't valued and Trump wanted to be able to lie directly to reporters.
It was hugely refreshing to watch Biden's press secretary promise to be truthful, then respond to questions in an open, honest, straightforward manner. Plus, she said that they'd be holding daily press conferences. White House reporters must be overjoyed.
There will, of course, be many bumps in the road ahead for the Biden administration.
However, they will be genuine bumps over important domestic and foreign policy issues, not self-inflicted bumps caused by the massive ego and moral failings of the previous president -- whose name I'm going to try to use infrequently, because his memory deserves to be erased from history to the greatest degree possible.
I'm encouraged by how Biden and his team seem to be set on taking on several tough issues early in his presidency: voting rights and immigration reform.
Some knowledgeable political analysts see this as a sign that doing away with the Senate filibuster will be seriously considered, because almost certainly there won't be enough Republicans willing to overturn a filibuster of bills addressing those issues.
Voting rights should be Job 1, or close to it, for the Biden administration.
It seems clear that in most states controlled by Republicans, there will be efforts to make it harder for people to vote, especially by mail. This is the core approach Republicans have been taking to winning elections. Not by appealing to more voters, by making it more difficult for non-Republican voters to cast a ballot.
So the most important thing Congress needs to do to protect our fragile democracy is make it easier to vote. Otherwise it is only a matter of time before various techniques of voter suppression lead to an election of someone just as authoritarian as the previous president, yet more adept at seizing power.
Those sorts of concerns weren't foremost in my mind today, though.
Mostly I rejoiced at seeing Joe and Jill Biden express the obvious love they have for each other, hugging, holding hands, smiling widely. Walking in the middle of the street back to the White House, Biden would dash over to greet a reporter, then jog back to catch up with his wife and other relatives.
In four years I never saw the former president jog once, or even walk fast. Likely he is incapable of this, given his weird forward lean both standing and walking, perhaps caused by his prodigious gut.
Thus I thrilled to seeing a older president break into a jog, albeit a slow one. This seemed to mirror the eagerness Biden has to healing our country from the past four divisive years.
Biden made a great start today. The inauguration ceremony was filled with memorable moments. One of the best was the poem read by National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman. If you haven't seen Gorman do her poetry thing, here's your chance.
Lastly, I can't resist sharing a piece in the London Daily News provocatively titled, "British Writer Pens The Best Description of Trump I've Read." I agree. It is indeed the best. Nate White answers the question, Why do some British people not like Donald Trump? Here's some right-on excerpts.
A few things spring to mind. Trump lacks certain qualities which the British traditionally esteem. For instance, he has no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibility, no compassion, no wit, no warmth, no wisdom, no subtlety, no sensitivity, no self-awareness, no humility, no honour and no grace – all qualities, funnily enough, with which his predecessor Mr. Obama was generously blessed. So for us, the stark contrast does rather throw Trump’s limitations into embarrassingly sharp relief.
...Trump is a troll. And like all trolls, he is never funny and he never laughs; he only crows or jeers. And scarily, he doesn’t just talk in crude, witless insults – he actually thinks in them. His mind is a simple bot-like algorithm of petty prejudices and knee-jerk nastiness.
There is never any under-layer of irony, complexity, nuance or depth. It’s all surface. Some Americans might see this as refreshingly upfront. Well, we don’t. We see it as having no inner world, no soul. And in Britain we traditionally side with David, not Goliath. All our heroes are plucky underdogs: Robin Hood, Dick Whittington, Oliver Twist. Trump is neither plucky, nor an underdog. He is the exact opposite of that. He’s not even a spoiled rich-boy, or a greedy fat-cat. He’s more a fat white slug. A Jabba the Hutt of privilege.
...He turns being artless into an art form; he is a Picasso of pettiness; a Shakespeare of shit. His faults are fractal: even his flaws have flaws, and so on ad infinitum. God knows there have always been stupid people in the world, and plenty of nasty people too. But rarely has stupidity been so nasty, or nastiness so stupid. He makes Nixon look trustworthy and George W look smart. In fact, if Frankenstein decided to make a monster assembled entirely from human flaws – he would make a Trump.