Today’s presidential inauguration will be historic for a variety of reasons. And the entire world will be watching. 

It’s taking place during the middle of an out-of-control pandemic. Everyone on stage (including soon-to-be President Joe Biden) and in the crowd will be wearing masks. And the crowd itself will be arranged in a way to encourage attendees to remain socially distanced from one another. 

It’s also taking place with an unprecedented amount of security in Washington D.C., within perimeters maintained and adorned with barbed wire with the presence of armed guards, road blocks, tanks, and troops, due to the insurrection of the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. 

It will designate Kamala Harris as the first female, also the first female and person of color, as the Vice President of the United States of America. 

It will simultaneously solidify and change the sacred tradition of the U.S. presidential inaugural event for generations to come. The outgoing president and first lady won’t be there to congratulate Biden and Harris. There will not be an inaugural ball for celebration. And many other elements of the event will be different too because of the pandemic and security. 

The most striking thing that will be different: We will have a more empathetic leader and a more empathetic nation as a result. Empathy will begin to surface again, this time in full force in ways we have never seen before, and hopefully it will become the bedrock and strength of our nation now. 

What will change is that we will remember there is no such thing as long-lasting strength without empathy. Enduring strength and fortitude can only come by way of empathy. Otherwise, for whom does one have the strength to endure anything for long periods of time? Violence and physical stamina are fleeting and do not generate enduring strength that lasts generations. We all grow old and die. And our legacies only live on through the empathy we show others and the empathy they show us. It is our ability to ensure that others around us are strong too (our family, our friends, our coworkers, our neighbors) that makes us strong, and certainly stronger together.  

After seeing and hearing Biden bid adieu to Delaware yesterday, followed by the vigil he led at the Lincoln Memorial for those Americans who have suffered and died from the pandemic, it feels as if the soul of our nation is finally beginning to surface again. It sounds corny, sure, but it is still true. Many Americans are breathing easier today. Today is a good day. There are still many challenges ahead and debates to have, but today is still a good day. A historic day.   

Watch the inauguration here: 


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