About three years ago, when lifelong family friend Bonnie Baril suffered a major cognitive event that might have been a trans-ischemic attack, she was questioned by the hospitalist, a man I now know to be my neighbors’ son. He was asking her what day of the week it was, what year it was, things to test her awareness and acumen. Then he asked her who the president was. She very firmly informed him, “He’s not my president.”
Today, after at least four such TIAs and residing in an assisted living memory-care facility, Mrs. Baril may not be as aware of politics as she once was. But she would be happy to embrace Joe Biden as her president — and Kamala Harris as her vice-president.
President Biden’s repeated hope is to be a president for everyone, which we know is not going to happen, but I am harboring this hope nonetheless.
The world is watching with us, hoping for a restoration of world order where America does not default on its role as a leader. There are big, big problems all dumped on President Biden’s large plate, but really, all we want for this brief moment is to heave a large sigh of relief: an adult is back in the White House.
Three weeks ago, when insurrection was only an open invitation and not an actual emphatic punctuation point on the last four years, I was making a nominal effort at sorting some paper when I ran across a news clipping I had saved, and I knew right then I wanted to share it on this day.
As I am watching the inauguration instead of focusing on blogging, there have been a lot of references to the upending events of Jan. 6, and there have been many dark warnings and concerns about today. But I am going to stick with my plan to present to you the words of Maya Angelou.
In 1993 the great poet was invited by President-Elect Bill Clinton to compose a poem for his inauguration. She was the first poet to be included in an inauguration since Robert Frost appeared on behalf of John F. Kennedy in 1960.
Here, the closing lines from On The Pulse of Morning, by Maya Angelou, as pertinent today, if not more so, than in 1993:
Lift up your hearts Each new hour holds new chances For new beginnings. Do not be wedded forever To fear, yoked eternally To brutishness. The horizon leans forward, Offering you space to place new steps of change. Here, on the pulse of this fine day You may have the courage To look up and out upon me, the Rock, the River, the Tree, your country. No less Midas than the mendicant. No less to you now than the mastodon then. Here on the pulse of this new day You may have the grace to look up and out And into your sister's eyes, into Your brother's face, your country And say simply Very simply With hope Good morning.