12 More Hours

It’s almost midnight on January 19. At noon tomorrow, Joe Biden takes the oath of office and becomes the 46th President of the United States. I know it’s become a cliche, but I can’t help feeling that our long national nightmare is nearly over.

Donald Trump, true to form, is unrelenting in his remarkable pettiness, immaturity, and corruption. He refuses to attend the Inauguration. He refuses to carry on the tradition of the outgoing President and First Lady welcoming the new President and First Lady to the White House. He has issued more than 100 pardons in recent days, bypassing the usual vetting process and simply pardoning his friends and anyone else who has caught his fancy. He still hasn’t acknowledged that Biden won the election, and, in fact, persists in claiming that the Democrats rigged the vote against him. And he has not disavowed the white supremacist terrorists who violently took over the U.S. Capitol on January 6 with the intention of executing the Vice President and Speaker of the House.

In the meantime, it turns out that he lied when he said he had enough Covid vaccine stockpiled to provide second doses for those who have received the first one. So he’s leaving the new administration short on the resources he’d promised were on hand for fighting the pandemic — the pandemic that has now killed 400,000 Americans, many of whom would still be alive if Trump had not been in the White House.

I promised myself I wouldn’t write a lengthy anti-Trump diatribe, so I will not continue in this vein, though there is so much more I could say.

The big now fear is that, despite unprecedented security, the Proud Boys and other right-wing terrorist groups will once again attempt to violently disrupt the transfer of power. Here in the D.C. area, we are planning to stay home tomorrow and watch the ceremony on television. Even if we wanted to go downtown, it would be difficult. Bridges and roads are closed, a long list of Metro stations aren’t operating, and a wide perimeter around the Capitol has been blocked off. I worry about the safety of the incoming President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, and of other officials who have been targeted by the right-wing extremists.

I am thrilled that a new administration takes over in a few hours — especially an administration that includes a Vice President who will be the first woman, the first Black, and the first Asian to hold that position. But my joy and relief are tempered by nervousness about what may happen by those who continue to believe, despite all evidence to the contrary, that Trump won reelection.

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