If you travelled to the nation’s capital yesterday to get a glimpse of the inauguration of a new President and Vice President, take a photo in front of the White House, or dance and celebrate with fellow Biden supporters, you were in the wrong place.
The streets of the nation’s capital were almost entirely deserted, save for some independent media folk, a handful of religious fanatics, and 25,000 National Guardsmen posted up behind 10 foot high fences, not allowing anyone within half a mile of the action.
The few people who did travel to D.C. for the inauguration spent much of their day walking back and forth between the two relative pockets of activity: Union Station, where the international media was set up, and Black Lives Matter Plaza, where onlookers stood around quietly. Most conversations began with “Real quiet, huh?” before getting into inauguration chatter.
Almost as soon as President Joe Biden wrapped up his inaugural address, the camera crews packed up, the few revellers in attendance slipped off, and only the religiously inclined and National Guard remained.
In the midst of a global pandemic that has killed 400,000 Americans, and 2 weeks to the day since the United States Capitol was taken under siege by violent right wing protesters, the lack of any noticeable celebration was hardly surprising.
While the sight of thousands of armed national guards and completely empty streets was a strange one, it shows just how seriously Joe Biden and his administration take threats against the US government, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the presidency itself.