Presidential inauguration must be safe and unifying


Courtesy of the White House Website

Joe Biden gets inaugurated in 2008. This is the second time that Joe Biden will be sworn into power.

By Jasper Bernstein, Observations Editor

In a world with a raging pandemic, the task of designing an inauguration becomes much greater. How should the Biden team handle this task and should Churchill students start booking their tickets?

To start – the Biden team must realize that this is not a normal election. This election was highly contested and broke precedent when the losing candidate didn’t concede. This election wasn’t normal and this inauguration won’t be either.

The inauguration must have two unique qualities: it must be designed to unify and it must be COVID-safe.

In previous years, the inauguration was designed as a celebration of America and a celebration of the winner. However, this country has a unique problem, something that calls for a unique solution. According to a poll conducted by PRRI, 74 percent of Americans believe that the country is very divided politically. This inauguration must help heal the divide.

To unify a country, the inauguration must prioritize patriotism. It must be able to show the country, and the rest of the world, that the United States is a country for everyone, regardless of their politics. The Biden team can utilize symbols of patriotism, while still acknowledging the challenges that we will face over the next four years. For example, the American flag should be in use not as a political prop, but as something that brings us all together.

The next challenge that the Biden team will face for the inauguration is the raging COVID-19 pandemic. With 539,000 deaths predicted by April (according to the most recent model by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation), the Biden team is going to have to get creative in order to plan a safe inauguration. 

Not only will the inauguration come in the middle of the outbreak, but the peak of the outbreak is projected to occur in January, around the same time as the inauguration. The Biden team would be wise to plan the inauguration around demonstrating positive COVID-safe practices. Throughout the course of the pandemic, people have shown a “monkey-see monkey-do” mentality, looking to leaders for health guidance. 

For starters, the crowd size should be limited (or nonexistent). The Biden team should plan to have a mostly-virtual event, with spread out gatherings around Washington, D.C. Masks should be worn for the entire event, and most importantly, by Biden himself. Finally, the inauguration should take place in many linked-together areas, in order to not draw huge crowds.

Churchill students should feel safe (if allowed) at a Biden inauguration. Although anything can involve COVID-19 risk, the inauguration is one of the things that will be very safe and reduce risk. Due to the close proximity of Churchill to Washington DC, Churchill students should consider attending this historic event if it is COVID-safe.