The beginning of a new American administration always draws widespread attention around the world because of the economic, political, and military influence the United States wields among nations today. There is additional reason for interest and concern over President Joseph Biden’s inauguration today – a threat of violence from hard-core loyalists of outgoing President Donald Trump who believe his claim that he was cheated in the election.
They forced their way into the US Capitol housing the Senate and House of Representatives last January 7, ransacking offices, and disrupting ongoing proceedings for the proclamation of Biden’s election win. The mob was eventually cleared from the premises after fighting that killed five people, including a Capitol policeman.
There is now a threat of a violent disruption of today’s proclamation of Biden, along with attacks on state capitols in all 50 American states. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and police forces have now closed down the entire Washington, DC, Mall, on which Congress, the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, and other national government buildings stand, with the Washington Monument at the center of the Mall. Security is unprecedented at the Capitol in front of which President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will take their oaths today.
Security has also been stepped up in all 50 state capitols because of the threats received by the FBI. But the alert should not be limited to these official sites, for any violence in the country today will be seen as part of the protest by the groups who believe Trump’s claim that he was cheated in the election.
It is unfortunate that all this fear of violence hangs over today’s oath-taking ceremonies. President Biden begins an administration that will undo so many of the Trump administration’s decisions in the last four years, including a ban on visitors from Muslim countries, halting immigration from the Latin American nations along with a policy of separating children from their detained mothers, rejection of the historic Paris Climate Agreement, withdrawal from traditional US leadership in Western alliances, and a dismantling of so many agreements with China.
Today’s start of the new administration is also historic for it is the first time the US has a woman vice president, who is also a woman of color, being the daughter of an immigrant father from Jamaica and an immigrant mother from India. It is the latest sequel of the great American story of immigrants from all over the world coming together to live and work in the new nation that is today’s America. Many Filipinos are part of this story; there are today over four million Filipino immigrants living in the US.
We truly hope the threats of violence received by the FBI do not materialize and the new Biden-Harris administration will begin today without the threatened violence. The new leaders of the US have so much to do – all on top of the COV ID-19 pandemic which has hit the US hardest among all the nations of the world.
We join the world in wishing it well as the new Biden-Harris administration starts today.