Amidst the chaos and hostility in the dying hours of the Trump administration – a fortnight from the terrorist attack on the national capitol – that struck terror into both Democrats and Republicans alike, a ‘Field of Flags’ lay at the feet of The White House filling-in for tens of thousands of Americans who could not be present at Joe Biden’s inauguration.
On Wednesday, 20th January 2021 Joseph Robinette Biden was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts at the Capitol Hill, where he took the oath of office in a navy Ralph Lauren suit, using a 127-year-old family bible. Paired in blue, the colour of the Democratic Party, the incoming President and the First Lady were dressed in the colour of unity and solidarity – wearing their promise to the people of America like a badge of honour. The ceremony was attended by former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama along with their respective counterparts Former First Ladies Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, and Michelle Obama. Although the departing President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump did not attend the inauguration, departing Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence shared a laugh with the Harris’ during their final send-off.
“We’ve learned again that democracy is precious, democracy is fragile, and at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed,” said Biden, during his inauguration speech as the 46th president of the United States.
While the commander-in-chief has inherited the world’s most powerful country in a state of economic descent, his Irish background, catholic faith, and political stance could cushion the Irish economy post Brexit. Joe Biden has already voiced his resistance to Brexit in a tweet: “We can’t allow the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to become a casualty of Brexit. Any trade deal between the US and UK must be contingent upon respect for the Agreement and preventing the return of a hard border. Period.” Furthermore, he has talked about his decision to defend Ireland during the negotiation, publicly. As the president-elect, Biden had already reinstated his stand on the Irish border issue with UK’s PM Boris Johnson.
Presently, Ireland is home to more than seven hundred US corporations that employ over 160,000 people. These corporations make up for 20% of Ireland’s job market, which amounts to a total of $444B. As the co-author of the international fund, Biden may be able to supervise a larger scale investment in Ireland to multiply job opportunities for Irish students. The Irish J1 programme is well and truly back on the cards too which is fantastic news for UCD students, who have faced several warriors recently under the Trump campaign.
Joe Biden’s win is not only a win for every Irish descendant but for every non-native who dreams of a better tomorrow. Biden is only America’s second Irish-Catholic president— after former President John F Kennedy. In a country of immigrants, nearly 10.1% of the total population identifies as Irish American. In an interview conducted in December 2020, then President-elect Biden said: “I’m going to keep my commitment that the administration, both in the White House and outside in the Cabinet, is going to look like the country.” And indeed, he bestowed upon the USA the most diverse administration in the history of the United States with many Irish and Irish Americans holding key administrative positions.
Vanshika Dhyani – Politics Writer