The star spangled banner
In a rare breach of my rule not to watch day time television,* and fortified with a large G&T with a side dish of peanuts, I watched the inauguration of President Biden. He didn’t wave as he came down the steps of the Capitol, so I’m not sure he’s into multi-tasking, but at least you could tell he remained alive during some rather dull speechifying (his mask was going in and out). One speech was made by the Chair of the Congressional Inauguration Committee. This is a task equivalent to a report being made to a catering committee on the number of cakes produced prior to the oven overheating. Following Lady Gaga’s spirited performance of the national song, the PA announcer, clearly recruited from an all-in wrestling tournament, introduced the Vice Presidential oath taking. You’d have thought they would have done the Prez first, but there you are—it’s America! Then we had Jennifer Lopez, who is also a pop star singing a medley of patriotic songs, including that everlasting hit, ‘this flag is made for you and me.’ Then came the big deal. This was when the world learnt that the ‘R’ in Joseph R. Biden stands for Robinette. Robinette? That’s a bit weird. As weird I imagine as ‘Hussein’ was to many Americans.
Biden spoke! He pointedly regretted that ex-President Carter couldn’t be there today. Optimistically, he said the pandemic was ‘once in a century.’ At least there’s a kind of acknowledgement there that at least this one is not unprecedented. As he rambled on with his brand of apple pie, unity was the core message, contrasted with the thought that the historical disunity of the US is ‘perennial.’ Then on the other hand ‘We have never ever, ever, ever, ever, ever failed in the United States.’ He went on and on in this vein, hoping no doubt that his message, directed almost entirely at Donald Trump (who was probably playing golf) was being heeded. But there’s Truth! And Lies! The only way through is a little humility, etc., etc. As the speech dragged on, it felt more and more like sitting on grandpa’s knee, learning what the word ‘cliché’ means. As usual everything will be done under the eagle eye of God. Atheists never get a look in at these holy events. That’s not very inclusive is it? The community singing of ‘Amazing Grace’ was completely drowned out (as it were) by the fact that everyone was wearing face masks. Then a young black poet delivered a far better speech than Biden. He might have wished she hadn't been chosen, since she’ll end up being the real star of the show.
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