Yesterday we saw one soaring, patriotic, intelligent, poetic, cinematic moment after another. It led to a number of comparisons to Aaron Sorkin’s television drama The West Wing. But by the end of the day, I found myself thinking of a pivotal line from a different Sorkin show, Studio 60: “We live here now.”
I watched Joe Biden get sworn in as President. I watched Kamala Harris get sworn in as Vice President. I watched Biden walk into a White House that had already been abandoned by the previous guy. I even watched Biden sit at his desk in the Oval Office and talk to reporters. But it didn’t hit me until the very end of the inauguration concert, when I saw Joe and Dr. Jill Biden standing on the balcony of the White House residence, watching the fireworks. Then it hit me: they live there now. And so do we.
For as long as I’ve been involved in political journalism, we’ve all been on the outside, in the most unfortunate way possible. For the past four years our Executive Branch has been under siege, with a clinically deranged Kremlin-controlled traitor posing as faux-President. But now he’s gone – gone – and the White House belongs to the guy we elected. It’s our house again.
When I say “our house” I don’t just mean Democrats and liberals, though I’m a Democrat and a liberal, and Joe Biden is a Democrat and a liberal. I mean that the American government is now back in the hands of the American people. We’ve got a guy in there now with mainstream American views and a desire to fix what’s broken. We’re going to agree with most of what he does, and he’s going to at least listen to us the rest of the time.
We live here now. The White House and the Presidency belong to us. We’re in charge. It’s what we’ve been fighting and hoping for all along. We’re still facing many of the same problems and crises today that we were when we woke up yesterday. But the game’s all changed now. We’re no longer scrappy outsiders. We’re working from the inside now. It’s an entirely different mindset, but one I suspect we’ll grow accustomed to as we continue to see progress, hope, change, reform, improvement, and brighter days as we go on. Welcome home.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report