On Wednesday, January 20th, 2021, Joe Biden became the 46th President of the United States. Now, Camas High School staff and students are reacting to the historic, albeit abnormal, event.
Record numbers of troops fanned across Washington D.C. and at capitol buildings across the country to prevent potential attacks following the riots at the U.S. Capitol Building earlier this month. And the inauguration ceremony itself looked different than any in the past; spectators wore masks and socially distanced from one another due to the coronavirus pandemic.
CHS English Teacher Lori Lackland said, “The inauguration is important historically because it looks different than any inauguration ever has. However, there are still traditions that are recognizable for our democracy that can serve to unite us and remind us that we are one country.”
CHS staff and students tuned in to watch the inauguration, whether students watched on their own or during their second-period class. Both staff and students thought it was important to watch this moment in history.
CHS Sophomore Erin Connelly said, “I thoroughly enjoyed the inauguration! Although I would’ve preferred someone more progressive than Joe Biden, I’m certainly glad to have Trump out of office! Biden’s speech was powerful, but I think the poetry reading was even more moving. What a lovely tradition! I hope they keep it up.”
Even if students did not get the chance to watch the inauguration during second period, they were still able to stay informed through social media.
CHS Junior Covey Stark said, “I feel like today has gotten a lot of notice especially on social media. So I feel like many students have taken notice.”
President Biden’s inaugural address was one of unity and hope for the country to come together.
CHS English and History Teacher Lindsay Peters said, “‘The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer.’ This was my favorite from the inaugural [address]. It also ties in to Langston Hughes’ poem. I told my class that history is always worth witnessing and being a part of whether we like it or even understand it is usually irrelevant. I also talked about what this means and feels like for women in our country.”
CHS staff and students also voiced their predictions for the future of American politics now that the peaceful transfer of power has happened.
CHS History and English Teacher Sam Greene said, “We as a country have to try to get back to a more civil dialogue that doesn’t pit us as mortal enemies in a futile battle. President Biden said this best when he said, ‘And so today at this time in this place, let’s start afresh, all of us. Let’s begin to listen to one another again. Hear one another, see one another, show respect to one another. Politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire, destroying everything in its path. Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war. And we must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and ever manufactured.’ Because if we don’t learn how to listen and to compromise, to pair taking a little while graciously giving a little, then our great experiment in democracy will perish from this earth.”
CHS Senior Jacob Gray acknowledged citizens have a huge responsibility and said, “I think the future for America won’t change that much, but the change that will happen will be determined by the people.”
CHS Senior Teaghan Carruth said, “I think that a lot of liberals (white liberals) are going to become a lot less politically active because they think that everything wrong with the country is fixed now.”
Other students found silver linings in this change of power.
CHS Senior Dionne Le said, “I think it’s refreshing to see a president who is embracing those who think differently and calls for unity instead of causing division in the country”
Walsh said, “I look forward to seeing more diversity in our leadership, thanks to both VP Harris being the first female and POC to hold that position and Biden’s cabinet picks… I’m also looking forward to having an administration that takes the pandemic seriously,”
Walsh added, “As for the future of politics, there is still a lot of work to be done.”
Camasonian journalists Rose Hinchliff, Chase Muro, and Will Hansen contributed to this article.