By Sophia Alexandrou
On January 20, 2021, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn into their respective positions. Leaving behind the Trump-Pence administration and beginning the Biden-Harris one, this day saw messages of hope, inspirational performances, and a step forward into a new chapter for this country. Though these past four years have seen, among many other things, oppressive policies, impeachments, and a pandemic, a step forward into a new administration provides the country with faith in a better tomorrow.
Despite the intense political division exhibited during the 2016 election and on, Biden emphasized the theme of unity throughout his inaugural address. He referred to unity as being one of the most essential factors in the preservation of democracy. He pointed to the troubling times every American is currently enduring as a uniting factor throughout the country. He also asserted his promise to serve every American, regardless of whether or not they voted for him. Lastly, he took a moment to commemorate those who have lost their lives due to Covid-19 and used those lost lives as an incentive to finally overcome this virus.
Another notable moment of this day was the poem “The Hill We Climbed,” performed by Amanda Gorman, the youngest poet to perform at an inauguration in the history of the United States. Gorman says this poem is about “a new chapter in the United States, about the future, and doing that through the elegance and beauty of words." Throughout the poem, she references the hardships that marginalized groups in America and Americans in general have had to endure throughout history. She also emphasizes the idea that although this country is far from perfect, it is still the job of the people to work to make this country a home to anyone who lives here, explaining that despite these flaws and these setbacks, the United States will continue to improve to become a “union with purpose.” She references her upbringing as a young black woman raised by a single mother being able to share her words in front of the entire nation at the beginning of a new presidency.
Her poem and Biden’s inaugural address perfectly captured the essence of the type of mindset needed to make progress: a mindset focused on unity and rising up from the faults of the past to create a more promising future.
Overall, given the uncertainty that has plagued the United States these past four years, it seems as though things are beginning to look up for Americans. In his first couple of weeks as President, Biden has managed to pass several executive orders, including repealing the Muslim travel ban and transgender military ban implemented during the Trump administration. While times are uncertain, this transition into a new and seemingly more capable administration provides hope for millions of Americans.