WASHINGTON D.C. (KHON2) — There was a feeling of hope in the air at the Nation’s Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 20, for the inauguration of President Joe Biden — a stark contrast to the insurrection just two weeks ago.
The event carried an overarching message of unity and symbolized what many hoped would be a new beginning for the United States.
“Every inauguration is not just an event,” Rep. Ed Case said, “It’s really a renewal of our vows to our country and to each other. And so I felt that President Biden, in his inauguration and in his speech, said exactly what we needed to hear, which was that we’re far better united than we are divided.”
Sen. Brian Schatz said, he thought the President’s speech was extraordinary. “He did call to our better angels.”
“It wasn’t the sort of soaring oratory of Barack Obama. And it wasn’t the showmanship of Donald Trump. It was the humanity of President Joe Biden. And I think that’s, that’s what we all need,” Sen. Schatz explained.
There were many firsts, including Kamala Harris being sworn in as the first female vice president.
“It makes a difference to have women in positions of power,” Sen. Mazie Hirono said. “And not just symbolically, because Kamala is a very smart focused person. That was really a wonderful moment, to see her up there as the vice president first ever. And a woman of color.”
There were no large crowds or hoards of cheering spectators. It was just a sea of flags that adorned the National Mall flanked by barricades lined with barbed wire — an unprecedented level of security.
Rep. Kai Kahele said, he has never seen so many National Guard troops gathered in one location before.
“It was the safest place on the planet to be today. It reminded me of the green zone in Baghdad and probably 10 times more fortified … It was a message we needed to send to the American people and we also needed to send to the world. And it was a demonstration of America’s strength and our resolve,” Kahele said.
Rep. Kahele said, he was able to bring a small piece of home with him despite the tight security.
“I brought some spam musubi to the inauguration. It might have been the first time I documented that spam musubi made it through the security checkpoint and made it to a presidential inauguration,” Kahele said with a smile.
Political analyst Dr. John Hart said, there were many wonderful moments during the inauguration.
“It was a very good poem that was read at the inaugural, a very good benediction,” Dr. Hart said. “One of the personal moments for me that I enjoyed was the visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with the former presidents. It shows us that the Republic does survive.”
The peaceful transition of power was reassuring and imperative for our country to begin to heal.
Hart questioned whether we will see bipartisanship from the Republicans.
“They signaled, especially in light of the insurrection that we just went through at the Capitol, they’re willing to work with the President,” Dr. Hart said. “So now the grand question is, they said they’re willing to work — will they work with the new administration? We have a gorgeous inaugural address asking us to come together. Will that happen? Will that resonate?”
Hirono said, it will not be easy to unite the country even though the President wants to.
“I think if all of us can think about what’s happened over the last four years, where we are, and the need for us to all work together, to get us out of this pandemic to move us forward on climate change, systemic racism, all the issues that we haven’t dealt with very well, particularly in the last four years, then we will all be taking responsibility to move our country forward. And I think that is what I’d like to see happen,” Sen. Hirono said.
Hart said, Biden would likely take swift action signing executive orders — undoing many of Trump’s executive orders — and that he would focus on implementing his agenda in case he losses Congressional seats midterm.