The new Biden-Harris administration starts today      

Published January 20, 2021, 12:37 AM

by Manila Bulletin

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.