The Phantom Inauguration

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Phantom pain is pain that a person feels in a body part, usually a limb, that is no longer there. That’s kind of how yesterday’s Presidential Inauguration felt. The limb missing was the lack of supporters and even protestors at the event. BOTH are part of American democracy, and both were totally restricted from the Capitol Mall.

The Inauguration is an American tradition, but regular Americans weren’t allowed to be a part. How wrong is that? How difficult could it have been to pull off an event that allowed people with 28,000 National Guard troops in place to keep the peace?

 

Fireworks are great to see… in person. On television, who cares? But the paternalistic attitude of Biden, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi urging people to stay home and then if they didn’t, locking them out anyway, is very much reflective of the events that lead up to the inaugural, and the approach of this current administration. The political elites are back, and they’re all over making sure you know who is in, and who is out. Democracy from a distance seems to be the mandate of this bunch.

According to Phil Wegmann of Real Clear Politics,

“The message was great. All the pundits said so. But other than the media, assorted members of government and Lady Gaga, who belted out the National Anthem into a golden microphone and wore a giant broach that looked like something out of ‘The Hunger Games,’ no one listened.

“At least, no one listened in person. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were inaugurated in a ghost town, a capital city occupied by more combat-ready American soldiers than are now deployed in either Afghanistan or Iraq. It was as different as it could be from the inauguration four years ago when the chaos candidate became president.”

Apparently some are still not interested in listening, because White House.gov has buried the Biden Inauguration stream after massive downvotes.

In his Inaugural speech, Biden intoned,

” ‘We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal,’ the new president said. ‘We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts.’ ”

But Biden couldn’t even see his way to open the Capitol—this could have been the ultimate unifying act, but, Nah.

According to Maryland’s ABC57 interview with a history professor, all the heightened security without people to secure is unusual:

” ‘This is unique,’ IU South Bend history professor Jonathan Nashel said. ‘Even when President Lincoln came to office, there was nothing like this type of security. The last time members of the National Guard were inside the Capitol was during, I think, Lincoln’s time, but the level of security now is unmatched.’

“Nashel said inauguration has happened with heightened security before. When President Barack Obama first took office in 2009, he did so amidst the threat of a terrorist attack and among a higher security presence. Nashel said that security presence was ‘nothing’ like the amount of National Guard troops in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.” 

Biden did not reflect any open-heartedness in restricting people from America’s house, or allowing the free speech of both supporters and protestors to have a place on a pivotal day in America’s history. You see, open-heartedness and free speech are defined by those in power. Your definition is neither relevant, nor does it apply.

Wegmann at RCP continued,

“The Secret Service, the agency credited (or blamed) for the armored cars, steel fences, concrete barriers, and legions of National Guardsmen in the streets of Washington, D.C., ruined the plans of any tourist unfortunate enough to travel here this week. Most everything was closed ahead of Wednesday. They shut down the National Mall, set up check points with roadblocks and razor wire across downtown, and established a security perimeter akin to the “Green Zone” in Baghdad. (House Speaker Pelosi reportedly wanted crew-operated machine guns deployed onsite, a request denied by the Department of Homeland Security on grounds that heavy weapons were not appropriate for civilian occasions.) Soldiers in full kit cradled M4 carbines, and shop owners who forgot to cover their windows during the unrest last summer prepared for the worst by putting up plywood boards.”

It’s rich that Queen Nancy demanded gun turrets from the people she had previously labeled as “storm troopers” and “Trump’s secret police”. I guess now that Biden is in charge, it’s all copacetic.

Historian David Eisenhower, grandson to President Dwight D. Eisenhower had this to say about the event:

“The good thing about an inauguration is it’s an opportunity to start fresh,” Eisenhower says. “Let’s hope the American people will take that opportunity.”

How does one start fresh when you disenfranchise and marginalize a segment of the voting populace? How do the American people take that opportunity, when the elected leaders do nothing to allow a fresh start, but instead, foment the concept that the other side must repent for their choice of a President they disliked and be held accountable?

Something is definitely missing, and like that phantom limb pain, the feeling is palpable.