For all that was marvellous, and for all that was comfortably normal, an inauguration is not an administration. The new president got to work on Wednesday night and into Thursday morning, signing Executive Orders to undo his predecessor’s policies, including controversial stances on immigration, LGBTQ rights, and climate change.
But important questions remain as to whether the last four years in America were a feature or a bug. Did the Trump presidency foster divisions, or did it simply reveal them? Will Trump’s assault on norms and institutions render them permanently weakened, or will they grow more robust and able to combat attacks from enemies both foreign and domestic?
While President Biden signalled his intention to restore America’s social fabric and the values underpinning it, this burden is not carried solely on the shoulders of the elected few. As Amanda Gorman eloquently reminded Americans on Wednesday, the more perfect union they strive to build is in their hands.
And yes we are far from polished
far from pristine
but that doesn’t mean we are
striving to form a union that is perfect
We are striving to forge a union with purpose
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colours, characters and
conditions of man
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us
but what stands before us
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,
we must first put our differences aside