Cloister Commentary, Day 306: Inauguration 2021

The previous president was someone I detested long before he ran. I’ve not ever been a fan of bullies, narcissists, racists, con men, boors, liars, cheats, and infantile adults, and he was all of that and more sadness in one package. In short, he was the opposite of everything I’ve striven (and am still striving) to be. Figuratively, I’ve been holding my nose for four years, but also trying to figure out his appeal without thinking ill of my fellow Americans–and, yes, at times, trying to understand the immense personal unhappiness that’s led to the man’s present state. He is human; as I told my students the day after the 2016 election, he’s someone’s son, father, husband. But I was forced to reevaluate my perception of others, including family, and I failed to reach that understanding. I am very glad he is gone from my daily sight and earshot, and I’m ready to fight myself back to a less cynical position.

I was at work editing student papers and at the doctor’s during the inauguration ceremony; I wanted to watch it in real time with Nicole and everyone else–I think I would have felt it more. I also was very distracted. Catching up via video later, I was deeply moved by Amanda Gorman’s poem and Kamala Harris’ swearing-in. Today, I’ll check out Biden’s address and the musical performances. Still, a lingering uneasiness about January 6 and the Herculean tasks ahead of us–several of which preceded the previous president (though he made them much more difficult)–has me in an anhedoniacal state. Look it up. I think it’s a word.

Streaming for Survivors:

But for now…once again (or was it ever?)…

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