Thursday, January 21, 2021

I watched this year—for Nigel

After I moved to New Zealand, I didn’t always watch the live coverage of the inauguration of a new president. I watched it in 2008, and for much the same reason I did this time: To make sure the new president replaced the one I couldn’t stand (though, ironically, I was thinking today how much better Bush 2 seems than he did back then, but that’s all on the guy who lost the 2020 presidential election, who has already been labelled, correctly, “the worst-ever US President”).

I didn’t watch it any year before that, or in 2012, for a simple reason: The swearing-in takes place at 6am New Zealand time, and the festivities earlier than that. That’s the real reason I didn’t watch in 2017, as I said at the time, and not because of who it was, much as I detested him.

All of which means that it’s more common for me to not watch. This year I had a particular reason for not watching: Worry. After the terrorists’ attempted coup last week, I was worried that they’d attack President Biden or the Inauguration Ceremonies, and I felt I simply couldn’t bear seeing that on live TV.

But, I did watch. And the main reason for that was to honour Nigel.

As I’ve said before, one the things Nigel said to me after he was diagnosed in September last year was, “I just hope I live long enough to see that bastard voted out of the White House.” Things didn’t work out that way, of course.

So, I felt a special duty to try and make him proud. I dedicated my vote to him, and when I woke up this morning around 5:15, debating whether I should get up and watch, I remembered watching the 2008 Inauguration with him, and I immediately knew that if he was alive he’d be up and watching “to see that bastard… out of the White House”. He would have let out a cheer.

I got up and watched the event live (via ABC News livestream on YouTube; I tried to watch it on NZ programmes, but found them, TV3 in particular, insufferable). I held my breath at a few times when I felt President Biden was at risk (especially walking down Pennsylvania Ave as he headed to the White House). The fact that the guy who lost the election last November acted like a spoiled brat and left Washington early made the swearing-in a little less dramatic—and exciting—than it would have been otherwise, but it nevertheless meant the end to the darkest period in American political history in my lifetime was finally over. I know that Nigel would’ve been beaming from ear to ear, and I certainly was, pretty much on behalf of us both.

In the end, I was glad I didn’t have to see anything of the loser as he left Washington. It would have been as annoying, and even angering, as any other time I’d had the misfortune to see or hear him speak (to this day I’ve never heard, watched, or read the campaign speech the loser gave in 2017). His absence made the day an even happier one.

Despite my reservations about doing it, I got up (very) early and watched the Inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. I’m glad I did.

This one was for you, Nigel. Just don’t expect me to do that for you every four years.

President Biden’s Inaugural Speech can be read at the White House website.


Roger Owen Green said...

I dID see orange at 8:30 a.m., EST. In fact, I watched the whole coverage on CBS from 7 a.m. to about 2 p.m. Joe and Dr. Jill are walking to the White House. I got a little teary-eyed.

And I was relieved that he didn't get killed before the inauguration by some insider nutcase. It was why I had actually wished rump were there, as security for Joe.

There was a TV special, hosted by Tom Hanks, and near the end, Bill and George W and Barack are standing around talking about how they know what the job was like and how they would be there for Joe. donny never knew how to be PRESIDENT.

Arthur Schenck said...

It was actually insiders I was most worried about.