Five days ago, President Biden was sworn in a Washington DC under a huge military presence, there to prevent any more insurrections. The ceremony went off without a hitch. When Washington does pageantry, it’s a dorky mix of Hollywood and Buckingham. This year’s edition featured women in jewel-toned winter coats, an ASL Pledge of Allegiance, and a Bernie Sanders meme storm.
The highlight for an inauguration for me is always the poet. I remember Maya Angelou’s “On the Pulse of the Morning” vividly from 1993. This year it was Angela Gorman, and she was spectacular. After the ceremony I saw Bill Clinton talking to her, and I shouted at the screen, “Get away from her, Bill Clinton! Leave her alone!”
One last comment about inauguration; there was no further insurrection activity that day, at least not in public.
Later that day, I went to Campion Hall to volunteer at the vaccine clinic. It was organized but it definitely felt improvised. I signed up for patient registration, and I didn’t realize until people were lying to me about their eligibility that it was my job to send people away if they weren’t eligible. I found that stressful, but the highlight was that I got to talk to a patient in ASL. Later they gave me the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
It was a little stressful to volunteer, but I do enjoy volunteering, so I would do it again. I have an appointment for the second dose in a few weeks, and should be at peak immunity by the beginning of March. My sister and brother in law haven’t been able to get appointments yet, and since there’s a 9 month old baby who was born a preemie in the house, we’re not sure until we can get the all-clear. We’re waiting for science to tell us that the vaccine prevents transmission, or that we have herd immunity, or there is a vaccine for babies. Until then, we’ll keep masking and distancing.
My parents got their first doses today, and my aunties and uncles in Oly got theirs this week as well. Hopefully they’ll get to meet the baby soon. It seems the previous administration didn’t bother making any distribution plans for the vaccine, which shows their actual commitment to the medical and economic health of this country. They are assholes. Anyway, my point is that we have all had to hustle to get our vaccines. I volunteered, and I was just lucky to get a spot; people were clamoring. My older relatives were eligible for this phase due to their age, but even they had to hustle, calling vaccine clinics all day long and relying on the word-of-mouth whisper networks that have sprung up. I know some people who are exasperated by all the hustle and say that they’ll wait their turn. While I sympathize with them, waiting your turn only works when the system is fair, organized from top to bottom. It’s not; the trumpies never had a plan. I’m afraid my fairness friends will be waiting a long time for their name to be called. Also, when their name is called, I’m afraid they will still have to hustle.
It’s funny to me when people want to point to how well the economy was doing pre-pandemic, excluding the pandemic as if it was some fluke. This pandemic, and other disasters, are part of the economy, and no, you don’t get to exclude it when evaluating the performance of leaders. We are in this shithole due to a failure of leadership, starting with the president of the republic, Donald J. Trump, whose name I will continue to curse long after his death. Biden looks promising so far, but he better step it up, lest I curse him as well.
Finally, I don’t know why people are so horny to get back to in-person classes at school, at this point, the most dangerous and deadliest time in the pandemic. From what I gather, some kids are suffering as their social, emotional, and psychological needs are not being met. I keep thinking of Maslow’s hierarchy, that basic health and safety are more fundamental than social, emotional, and psychological needs. I resent that we teachers have to roll the dice with our lives and the lives of our families to provide some social stimulus for some kids. For me, the priority would be to make it out of the pandemic alive, but I guess some people would rather risk infection. My colleagues who are already in session have let me know that social distancing is not happening, that the kids are all over each other.
I don’t know how to go forward from there. It’s a mess.