Friday, January 22, 2021

Covid Year Two, the Inaugural Edition 2021

 Melinda Palacio

Hello 2021.

For all of us who voted for Biden, the new year didn’t start until Wednesday when President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn in. I’m feeling all kinds of fuzzy and warm, perhaps warm enough to offer Tio Bernie some comfort. With the reverence of the transfer of power came the playful Bernie Sanders memes. I think we all needed to let out a sigh of relief. I know I’ve been holding my breath because tRump refused to concede, what a sore loser. We may not have been able to elect Hillary to the White House, but we witnessed the swearing in of California’s own, Kamala Harris as Vice President of the United States of America. 

I’ll admit that for all the joy of the momentous occasion, some lingering effects of trauma over the past four years remain. The pandemic hasn’t magically disappeared and an insane amount of people have died due to Covid. While President Biden is on operation clean up, it may be months until a vaccine finds its way into my arm. Right now, Santa Barbara feels like a small island where supplies are hard to come by. It doesn’t help that Santa Barbara received a botched batch of doses, and not enough doses; every newsletter about Covid vaccines I’ve received state that there are no more appointments available for those in the 75 or older tier. I’m in the last group of adults that will be vaccinated. Who knows when that will be? Even though I hate needles and hospitals, I’m eager to get immunized against the virus. 

Even with the good news of a new administration, Covid did not take a back seat, but was front and center in the representation of flags for all the people who have perished in this country. Although I feel a sense of relief, I continue to have strange dreams and am often awakened by the sound of owls hooting back and forth to each other. If only I could decipher their message. Perhaps they are trying to tell me not to worry so much? A tall order when you think about the possibility of insiders who may have helped the insurrectionists with their coup d’état, it’s easy to be in a constant state of worry. Senators who continue to stand by Trump and the violence he incited should be removed from office. All of the people who supported them remain amongst us, some quietly going about their business, angry or deflated, but dissatisfied either way. This storm has been brewing for four years, thanks to Trump fanning the flames of hate. Videos and selfies of the mob showed a well-rehearsed group who felt at home storming our capitol. Some had recently received tours from Senators, even though tours should have been cancelled due to Covid. Some of the co-conspirators are refusing to leave their guns at home. Thanks to chatter from these fringe groups the entire nation was put on high alert, as if Covid lockdown weren’t enough. However, the largest military presence at the inauguration did not dampen the celebration of a new dawn. As inaugural poet, Amanda Gorman suggests, it’s best to step into this new era unafraid. Perhaps, my owls are telling me to have no fear and return to poetry.  Gorman recited: “The new dawn blooms as we free it/For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it.”

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