A final reflection from the Fulcrum’s resident American
Hi, Fulcrum readers.
Long time no chat.
It’s me, the Fulc’s resident American, still stuck in Canada indefinitely until the United States gets its shit together re: COVID-19.
As you may know, something big happened this week.
The horse left the hospital. The star of Home Alone 2 relocated to Florida. A hundred percent per cent of all doubly impeached presidents left the White House.
I woke up on Thursday morning in the aftermath of Joe Biden’s and Kamala Harris’ inauguration, and for the first time in four years, felt some semblance of peace. Not joy, really, not even relief — but I wasn’t scared to check the news or open Twitter. I didn’t worry immediately for the safety of my family and friends back home, nor did I stare blankly ahead into the void of the next four years.
That afterglow of the inauguration, admittedly, didn’t just come from the spectacle of the political process in action.
It came from Lady Gaga and her massive bird pin, its wings guiding Gaga’s ever-powerful voice over fields and fields of flags planted to mark the American lives lost due to COVID-19.
It came from Amanda Gorman and the poem heard around the world, a spoken-word masterpiece to mark the dawn of a new era.
It came from Demi Lovato’s new pixie cut and strong-as-ever belt, Springsteen’s patriotic brood against jangly guitar, Tom Hanks’ borrowed credibility while hosting the televised post-inauguration event, Celebrating America.
From JLo’s “Let’s Get Loud” in the middle of a presidential inauguration.
From Jon Bon Jovi’s almost comically jovial “Here Comes the Sun” rendition.
The curation of artists for this year’s inauguration and its following primetime event was nothing short of miraculous, achieving the remarkable in both scope of genre and diversity of artists themselves.
For the first time in four years, an event meant to celebrate the United States seemed to actually celebrate them in their varying shades and specialties, accepting the messiness of 2020 but promising better times ahead under a new, united administration.
Celebrating America signaled an administration that understands the weight of the tasks ahead — the United States Postal Service cameo perhaps stood as an example of the chaotic rubble left to clean up in the coming years — as well as the importance of togetherness in accomplishing those tasks.
Even from different states, the artists programmed for the televised concert assembled together to form a cohesive, smooth as butter performance; for an all too brief hour, it felt as if artists could come together again in one sound stage, instead of being relegated to their spaces close to home.
That feeling of togetherness will be this new administration’s white whale in the times to come: you can’t always just curate a smash concert to assuage the American people in times of political fear, distrust, or frustration. Togetherness can’t always come from the shameless patriotism of a special like Celebrating America.
But it can come over Zoom, and in group chats. It can come in the form of memes. It can come in speedy vaccines, and stimulus checks, and mended relationships between marginalized groups and the government that has so ignored and abused them for so many years.
It seems that there will be togetherness in the years to come, and the diversity and sheer quality of Celebrating America on Wednesday night made that abundantly clear.
And that’s the Fulc’s resident American now signing off after a stressful, sleep-revoking election season. Thanks for bearing with me, folks.
Let’s get to work.