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On the Eve of the Inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris: A New Beginning
By Anh Lê
On the eve of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, as Americans our hearts are filled with hope - - hope for a bright future for our nation, for all Americans, and for our families, our children, grandchildren, and ourselves.
We celebrate the historic achievement of our first woman Vice President, a fellow American whose parents were immigrants to this country, and who brings to the Vice Presidency her experience as a United States Senator and her pride in her African American and Indian roots and heritage.
We also continue to celebrate the birthday anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We honor Dr. King's legacy. We reflect not only on Dr. King's leadership in the Civil Rights Movement of our nation, but also his teachings for our nation.
The inauguration of our new President and Vice President at 12 noon on January 20 represents not only a new beginning for our nation, but it also closes a chapter of four long years of a presidential administration that has wreaked havoc and disorder and has torn the fabric and foundation of our country.
This fabric must be restitched. This foundation must be mended.
On the eve of the inauguration, almost 22,000 National Guard troops line Pennsylvania Avenue and the nation's Capitol building to protect the Capitol and our nation's capital.
The whole length of Pennsylvania Avenue stretching all the way to the Capitol building, historically reserved for the celebration of a presidential inauguration, lies barren, desolate, and empty. The buildings and storefronts along Pennsylvania Avenue are boarded up with heavy boards of plywood and iron gates to protect them.
National Guard troops, along with police and other law enforcement officers, are guarding the capital cities, Capitol buildings, and other major cities throughout our nation.
These measures to protect Americans, on the eve of the inauguration, are taken to protect us not from any enemy or threat from without, but from those who wish to harm us from within.
This occurred on January 6, when mobs of the president's supporters stormed and attacked our nation's Capitol building. They heeded his call to march to the Capitol building and to "fight."
They heeded his call to disrupt the certification of the Electoral College votes that was to take place in Congress that day.
January 6, 2021 will be recorded in history books as a day of Infamy in our nation.
The mobs who stormed our nation's Capitol building were domestic terrorists. These terrorists and anarchists were hell bent on destroying the "People's House," the bastion and symbol of our Constitutional form of government. When these domestic terrorists stormed the Capitol building, they attacked the very foundations of our democratic form of government.
These terrorists left in their wake five of our fellow Americans dead, physical destruction of parts of the Capitol building and destruction of government property. They must be held fully accountable.
For his role in instigating the storming and attack of the Capitol building, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to remove the president from office immediately through invoking the 25th Amendment and also voted to impeach him for the second time.
The Article of Impeachment was introduced by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D, Maryland).
In both the vote to remove the president through the 25th Amendment and the vote to impeach him, Congress declared him to have committed high crimes and misdemeanors, to be a danger to American democracy and the national security of the U.S., to be a clear and present danger to our nation and unfit to be president.
Congress voted to remove the president from office for his role in inciting and fomenting insurrection on our nation's Capitol building.
On January 11, in their Open Letter, "Historians and Legal Scholars for Impeachment," over 1,000 American historians and Constitutional lawyers signed the Letter to call for the president's impeachment.
Laurence Tribe, professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard University Law School, stated that the president's actions were "the quintessential high crimes and misdemeanors," and "the president was the head of the executive branch fomenting violent insurrection and sedition against the legislative branch."
Since the attack on the Capitol building, some Republican elected officials condemned the attack. However, their words are the epitome of shameless hypocrisy. They themselves had spread the president's own lies that President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris did not win the election, that the election was "stolen" and fraudulent, and the certification of the Electoral College votes must be questioned or hindered. They, including Sen. Mitch McConnell (R, Kentucky) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R, South Carolina), were the enablers of the president and his actions, and they, too, must be held fully accountable for the January 6 storming of the Capitol building and the lives of those who were killed.
As we prepare for a new presidential administration, we also celebrate the election of Dr. Raphael Warnock and Jon Osnoff as the new U.S. Senators from Georgia. Dr. Warnock is the Senior Pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his father, had served as pastors. Dr. Warnock also followed in Dr. King's footsteps by attending Morehouse College.
On this historic day, we are mindful and reflect on the fact that Dr. Warnock's and Mr. Osnoff's election represents the dawn of a new era in the state of Georgia, a state in the Deep South with its own stained history of slavery, lynching, racism and segregation.
In the November 2020 presidential and Senatorial elections, Georgians stood in long lines from early morning to cast their ballots. For many of these Georgian voters, their forefathers were denied the right to vote because of the color of their skin. Even as late as recently, the current president who lost the election telephoned the Georgia Secretary of State to demand that he throw out the ballots that had been cast, a demand that naturally had to be refused.
Rep. Stacey Abrams must be commended and applauded for her leadership and brilliance in ushering in a new political landscape in her state through voter registration and the ballot box. Rep. Abrams is also a rising star on the national stage. We the American people would greatly benefit from her leadership in Washington D.C. someday, either as President or Vice President, as Senator, or as a Cabinet member. President Elect Biden and Vice President Elect should seriously consider appointing Rep. Abrams for a Cabinet level post in their new administration.
As we celebrate this inauguration, we the American people are also grateful and thankful to Sen. Bernie Sanders (D, Vermont) for his leadership. It is Sen. Sanders who has fought valiantly for the ordinary hardworking American men and women and their families, and has called us and our nation to address the issues of a living wage for workers, the wide economic inequalities that exist, universal health care for all Americans, and the most critical existential issue and challenge of our time, the global warming crisis.
The inauguration of President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris heralds in a new beginning for our nation.
President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris have pledged that they will work for the American people. In that vein, we must remind them to be circumspect in how they approach the conduct of American foreign policy. That requires them and our nation to respect the national sovereignty of each nation. We must wage and work for peace, and reject war.
On the eve of our 2021 presidential inauguration, President-elect Biden with wife, Dr. Jill Biden and Vice President-elect Harris with husband, Douglas Emhoff, stood at the Lincoln Memorial to remember the over 400,000 Americans who have died over the last year from COVID-19 and pay tribute to the first responders who cared for them. Their stance signifies their willingness to defend the country against foreign and domestic enemies, even the unseen. It was a ceremonial balm to begin the healing of our divided nation.
May the next four years, under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, offer our nation peace, progress, and unity.
This is our hope and prayer for our beloved nation.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., stated:
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
"The time is always right to do what's right. Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."
Anh Lê is an independent journalist.
Copyright @ Anh Lê January 19, 2021