About ten days ago I and about 40 million other people watched as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris took their oaths of office and became President and Vice president of the United States. Since then I have finally begun to relax and disconnect from the 24/7 news cycle that seemed to occupy me ever since November.
I believe it will take the U.S. several years to process the impact that Donald Trump and his administration have had on the country but I at least feel I can get back to teaching my classes and focus my time on things of my own choosing.
For the first few days of the new administration, I did pay close attention to the stream of Executive Orders coming from the oval office and the status of Biden’s cabinet.
Of particular note was the order putting the U.S. back in the Paris climate accord and killing the Keystone XL pipeline. Although it took Trump 3 years to leave the Paris framework it should only take 30 days for the U.S. to get back in and I am convinced that this is a very good thing for the country and also the planet.
The Paris agreement was in fact an agreement and not a treaty because Barak Obama knew that he would never manage to get the U.S. Senate to ratify it if it was a treaty. Woodrow Wilson, for example, never managed to get Senate ratification for the treaty of Versailles. The problem with the agreement is that one president can choose to join and another to withdraw.
As I wrote in another post a few weeks ago, the U.S.’s current political balance makes it difficult for the rest of the world to really know where the country will be on any given issue in four or eight years’ time.
I think I finally managed to relax after Lloyd Austin was confirmed as Secretary of Defense and the Senate managed to work about a deal to continue the business of government and hold Trump’s second impeachment trial.
By now it seems unlikely that he will be convicted as most republican Senators have lined up behind the idea that he can not be impeached after leaving office. What seems clear to me is that some are hoping to get Trump’s support for their own presidential ambitions and others are simply afraid that Trump supporters will throw them out of office if they find him guilty of inciting the January 6th mob to insurrection.
The important thing is that the United States now has a government that appears to be well qualified and committed to doing the work of running the country. The military is in capable hands, deputies have been put in place for those positions still pending Senate confirmation, and Biden and Harris appear to have entered office with a plan and program for just about everything.
Even Dr. Fauci appears to be relieved although the fight against the virus is far from over.
This administration has plenty of challenges. They include fighting the virus and repairing the economic impact that it and the measures put in place to control it have had on so many people. They also include a number of geopolitical issues around the world as well as making good on the build back better promise.
While I do not underestimate how complex all of this will be, I do not feel I need to worry about it personally and can trust in sensible people doing the best they can with the information they have. While this seems simple, it is an enormous relief.