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Alright! Land of Hope and Dreams

Abby Zimet

 by Common Dreams

A.P. photo

It was a day. The monster is gone, with his 30,573 lies, his relentless insults, his brutish stupidity -"We will be back in some form" - the enduring, oblivious vulgarity that chose as his farewell serenade..."Y.M.C.A!" Garry Kasparov: "That such a creature became president (requires) a reckoning...Repudiate, rebuild, renew. Above all, remember, so it doesn't happen again." To remind us, his in-house Nazi Stephen Miller slithered out from his rock to offer an opinion; America, with Samuel Jackson's "great vengeance and furious anger," didn't want to hear it. Joe Biden, in contrast, was eloquent: "Democracy is fragile, and at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed." He spoke of unity, acknowledging it "can sound to some like a foolish fantasy these days...The forces that divide us are deep and they are real." Still, he argued, "Unity is the path forward." A radiant Kamala Harris shattered multiple historic ceilings as she was sworn in by Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina on the Supreme Court, using a Bible that belonged to civil rights icon and first black SCOTUS justice Thurgood Marshall; her purple outfit was reportedly a tribute to the groundbreaking Shirley Chisholm, and she was escorted by Eugene Goodman, the heroic black Capitol police officer who fended off the MAGA mob. Harris got likely the day's most rousing send-off with Obama marking her new gig from the crowd with a jubilant, "Alright!"  

It was, noticeably, a day of black, brown, young, female voices, from the moving benediction by Rev. Silvester Beaman of Wilmington's Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church to the virtual "Rise Up!" by Andra Day as young Kaitlyn Saunders skated across Black Lives Matter Plaza to the soaring call to fulfill America's promise by National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman: "This is the era of just redemption...We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be a country that is bruised, but whole." Despite dark images of a capitol - and country - still under siege, there were reasons for hope. Georgia Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock were sworn into the Senate. Biden fired the first three of Trump appointees and swiftly went to work signing 15 executive orders to overturn some of Trump's most odious actions. He ended the Muslim travel ban, halted border wall construction, rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement and WHO, revoked the Keystone pipeline permit, vowed to defend DREAMERS and strengthen racial and sexual equity. To battle COVID, he imposed a mask and distancing mandate in federal buildings, brought back a centralized response structure and extended moratoriums on evictions, foreclosures and student loan payments. That night, Bruce Springsteen kicked off a virtual celebration with an austere version of "Land of Hope and Dreams," invoking sorrows left behind "and all this darkness past." Not yet. But light glimmers.

Historic: Harris and Sotomayor. AP photo

Amanda Gorman. Getty Image

Abby Zimet

Abby Zimet

Abby Zimet has written CD's Further column since 2008. A longtime, award-winning journalist, she moved to the Maine woods in the early 70s, where she spent a dozen years building a house, hauling water and writing before moving to Portland. Having come of political age during the Vietnam War, she has long been involved in women's, labor, anti-war, social justice and refugee rights issues. Email:

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