I now think I was over-impressed by Trump’s ‘farewell’ speech. It has been outshone by Biden’s inauguration address, and by the rest of the celebration yesterday. I was surprised by how ‘right’ that all was, in present circumstances. ‘Sleepy Joe’ rose to the occasion; as did the feisty wee girl poet (I’m sorry, but for me, nearing eighty, a 22 year-old still counts as a ‘girl’), and the rest of the cast.
Trump’s sales pitch – which is what it was, as you would expect from basically a corrupt salesman – now appears crude, boastful and unfeeling by contrast. But it makes one wonder: if it could impress me so much initially, couldn’t it have fired up his supporters even more? And then there were those final words of his, as he boarded Air Force One (I think) for the last time on his way to his gold-plated exile in Florida: ‘We’ll be back. In some form.’ It was like the ousted alien invader stepping back into his flying saucer at the end of a 1950s Sci-Fi B-movie, preparing us for the sequel. It sent a shudder down my spine; and reminded me that we still have a lot to do – in Britain too – before the monster is tamed.
And we still have to see how a Biden-Harris administration shapes up in practice. I remember the hope that was inspired by Obama the first time he won (I was in America then): ‘Yes we can!’ It turned out that No we (they) couldn’t in the long term; hence Trump. Proto-Fascism – or whatever you like to call it: but I really do think the ‘F’-word is appropriate here – appears too deeply entrenched in America to be erased that easily. And Biden seems not to be exactly the radical force that might be needed to set the country on a new path – if anyone could.