President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris Sworn in Today
By Yehudit Garmaise
A peaceful transfer of power occurred today, after weeks of Americans worrying whether it could happen.
Just before noon, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in, as the 46th president and vice president of the United States, in front of sea of American flags that, amid COVID and security concerns, replaced the usual hundreds of thousands of onlookers who traditionally flood the National Mall for presidential inaugurations.
The flags, which will be illuminated for the next few days, were a powerful symbol of ingenuity on a day that involved many unprecedented events, including the absence of the outgoing president and first lady, who left the White House this morning for Mar-A-Lago in Florida.
For instance, instead of joyous crowds, 25,000 National Guard troops stood guard at the nation’s capital amid fears of further attacks in the wake of the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol siege that resulted in five people killed.
After Biden, Harris, and their families arrived on the Capitol balcony for their swearing-in, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who ran for president during the 2020 Democratic primary, delivered the opening remarks and set the day’s theme as one of moving on to a more united future.
“Two weeks ago, when an angry, violent mob staged an insurrection and desecrated this temple of our democracy, it awakened us to our responsibilities as Americans,” Sen. Klobuchar said. “This is the day when our democracy picks itself up, brushes off the dust, and does what America does.”
Next, Sen. Roy Blunt, (R-MO), continued to speak about working together to form a better society.
“The Founders did not say to form a perfect union,” Blunt said. “Fortunately, they understood that always working to be better would be the hallmark of a great democracy.”
Another sign that the many former presidents and first ladies who attended the President Biden’s inauguration today was that many of them choose to wear a cheerful shade of purple: a nod to bipartisanship, as purple is the color that results from the mixture of Republican red and Democratic blue.
Then, using a a century-old heirloom family Bible, Supreme Court Justice John Roberts swore in Biden as president. Shortly afterward, Justice Sonia Sotomayor swore Harris as Vice President.
When he spoke, Biden vowed to be a president not of only Democrats, but of all Americans, and he asked those who voted against him to keep their minds open.
“All those who did not support us, let me say this: Hear me out as we move forward. Take a measure of me and my heart,” President Biden said. “If you still disagree, so be it, that’s democracy, that’s America.
“The right to dissent peaceably within the guardrails of our Republic is perhaps this nation’s greatest strength,” he said. “Hear me clearly, disagreement must not lead to disunion.”