Aptly expressed: “Democracy has prevailed!”; “A new dawn in America!”
Restoring the soul of the nation has begun. Joe Biden has been sworn the 46th President of the USA. He pledged ‘healing’ and ‘unity” to a seemingly fractured nation. Within hours, promised action took place.
The world witnessed a major moment of history at the very spot where mobs of domestic terrorists desecrated the American Capitol exactly two weeks earlier. It was the very same spot where America came “very close to losing democracy.” Yet, the inauguration of this new administration and the swearing in of a new commander-in-chief have also confirmed, as never before, “America, the United States to be the democratic multiracial republic of the world.” It was the singular indelible evidence of her exceptionalism.
Inaugurated just before noon on January 20, 2021 as President of the United States was Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. He who had served as Vice President to America’s first black, African American President for two terms is now joined and assisted by his Vice President, Kamala Harris, the country’s first woman Vice President. She is also the first black American Vice President, the first Asian American Vice President, a daughter of immigrants,. becoming the highest ranking woman, ever, in American politics.
Kamala Harris epitomizes the historic change of the American profile. Multiracial, multicultural, diverse. America’s motto, E Pluribus Unum (out of many, one), has never evinced a sharper meaning!
President Biden’s choices for his Cabinet reflects a “diversity that looks like America.” The Biden Cabinet (and White House staff) was shaped to be the most diverse in terms of gender, ethnicity, age, as well as of expertise. By the way, all his appointees are younger than he is, who at 78 is the oldest President to be sworn in.
On the eve of this new President’s inauguration, his disgraced predecessor, Donald J. Trump, left behind a toll of over 400,000 Covid-19 deaths, a pandemic he failed to arrest. It will of course be remembered for always that President Trump first called the coronavirus a hoax, with many Republicans believing it to have been devised by Democrats to make Trump look bad!
No other US President ever left office with an approval rating below 30%. On the other hand, as of a week ago’s opinion snapshot, 74% of Republicans still continued to cling to the belief that the election was rigged by the Democrats and stolen from Trump. Without a shred of evidence, and ‘fed with lies,’ it was the President himself who provoked that insurrection on January 6, 2021, another date that will live in infamy. The ranks of insurrectionists and seditionists obviously come from that 74% Republican polity. I am however confident that such misguided fervor and destructive delusion will be on the wane, if in fact it has not yet already come home to roost.
Earlier, I did say ‘seemingly fractured,’ but the developing reality indicates that the dawning truth has the capacity to sober up the misguided soreheads. After all, the final tally of the last election was 81,009,468 (51.33%) for Biden as against 74,111,419 (46.96%). Indeed, such gap of victory need not be a fractured chasm, but instead, space ready to be spanned. The healing, hopefully, has also began.
With rolled-up sleeves and hitting the ground running then, it appears that the flurry of actions President Biden has taken within hours of taking office was exactly how he wanted his administration to be defined by.
The first act of President Biden was the reversal of Trump policies that included pandemic response, the environment, anti-immigration policies, diversity and economic recovery. Among Day One’s 15 executive orders and 2 agency actions are:
-- an executive order requiring that people wear masks and maintain social distancing on federal property;
-- the launch of a “100 Days Masking Challenge” to encourage Americans to wear masks;
-- the reversal of Trump’s decision to remove the U.S. from the World Health Organization; Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, will lead the American delegation;
-- an executive order that creates the position of COVID-19 response coordinator, restoring the Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense within the National Security Council.
-- an executive order to extend eviction and foreclosure moratoriums; the moratorium for evictions will be extended until at least March 31;
-- extended the existing pause on student loan payments and interest for Americans with federal student loans until at least Sept. 30;
-- an “instrument” that will allow the U.S. to rejoin the Paris Agreement on climate change within 30 days.”
Lastly, knowing something of the communications craft myself, having been Press Secretary to the Pres. Cory Aquino, I am in awe of the all-female White House media team. I am an early admirer of President Biden’s Press Secretary, Ms. Jennifer Psaki. I watched her first press conference held mere hours after the new President was sworn in. She exuded knowledgeability, confidence and sincerity. She pledged “truth and transparency.”
I must not omit mentioning what, personally, is a wish come true. Ms. Kate Bedingfield was named White House Communications Director. She was Deputy Campaign Manager of the Biden campaign when I first watched her. An interview on Fox News where she eloquently and impressively responded to Chris Wallace’s attempted piercing ‘gotcha’ queries. Then, I wished that she ought to be serving at the White House alongside looking forward to a Biden victory.
Jennifer Psaki and Kate Bedingfield will be the antidote to a hangover of untruth from the previous administration. Washington Post’s fact-checking “Pinocchio” rating formula carded Donald Trump with having uttered 30,534 lies and misleading statements during four years he was President.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tomas 'Buddy' Gomez III began his professional media career in ABS-CBN's (previously Chronicle Broadcasting Network) DZQL-Radio Reloj in 1957, after which he spent 25 years with the Ayala Group.
In 1986, the then Pres. Cory Aquino appointed him Consul General to Hawaii and later served as her Press Secretary.
During the Ramos administration, he was chairman and president of state-owned IBC-13 Network.
After government service, he became an ‘OFW’ in the U.S., working as front-desk clerk and then assistant general manager of a hotel. He also worked as a furniture and antique restoration specialist.
He is now retired and lives in San Antonio, Texas.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.