I do not understand why this should raise hope

Suspension. Take a small dose of Super Bowl and be entertained (Lady Gaga! Jennifer Lopez!) And a heavy dose of rituals denoting democracy and freedom, shake well, mix well, and you get exactly this: US Presidential Fixation, Great Freedom Scene, Live Streaming to the Whole World. The scene is old, the trend looked the same as before. But this time one thing was completely different. Or a lot, depending on which way you look at it.

For the first time in 150 years, the resigning and losing president has disappeared. Donald Trump Pulled back to Florida earlier today, Mike Pence We kept the light on, but even if we ignore the fact that the sea of ​​spectators was also missing, the party wasn’t quite as it used to be. Conflict, division and polarization – sorry for the sudden, outdated choice of words – was staged for the second time in a short time in Washington, DC, as a reminder that more than one person would like to believe today is still the same despite the white old man in the White House called now Joe Biden.

Sorry, I must shout optimism, four years of chaos are over, Kamala Harris She is the first female vice president of the state, the dangerous goof escaped to a remote mansion in the state of the swamp. It’s big, I know. Biden gave an unforgettable authentic American speech. Additionally, we dealt with a poem. But that didn’t happen when Trump took his place.

I am not saying it means everything, but something does mean everything.

Only five times in history the ceremony was celebrated with poetry. John F. Kennedy Let the national poet Robert Frost Painted their makeup, Bill Clinton Rented Maya Angelou Which was rarely seen as a success, and since then it has been customary for presidents of Democrats – never Republicans – to leave a poet blessing the next four years with categories of poetry. I am not saying it means everything, but something does mean everything.

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Biden was chosen Amanda Gorman She is the youngest poet installation ever. She is 22 years old and graduated from Harvard last year. She performed her poems on MTV. I wrote a tribute to black Nike athletes. She wants to be the boss herself! She says she is inspired by Audrey LordePerhaps the most interesting English-speaking poet right now.

Amanda Gorman performs her poem.

Photo: Kent Nishimura / Shutterstock

Amanda Gorman.

Photo: Kevin Lamarck / Reuters

I am not writing this to emphasize, only to emphasize that it is a good image, well chosen, symbol of youth, hope, a better future, a happier, and possibly more equitable. Especially alongside Biden, the oldest American president ever.

The poem was so bad.

Spoken words of course work better in scenes than in pages, there is a technical ability that gets lost in converting and they have a gourman, but I have heard nothing but cliches. Laden, mysterious jumping Walt Whitman-Voice, sure, absolute, but cliché, cliché of victory. Just read:


We saw a force that would tear our nation apart rather than share it.

It would destroy our country if that meant delaying democracy.

This effort almost succeeded.

But while democracy may be delayed periodically,

It can never be permanently defeated.

With this fact we trust in this belief.

Because while we have our eyes on the future,

History has our eyes on us.

This is the era of just salvation.


I understand that many people want to hear lines like these now, especially when they perform so beautifully in the American January sun. It is not wrong to preach to the people and draw the hoped-for nationalism card, for she is also a true American. But Gorman’s lines are embarrassingly cliché. Ideal for a withered old type. The enemy is defeated, the light is victorious, the darkness recedes, and democracy is long live and cannot be defeated; Adversity makes us stronger, there will be more, but the sun always shines again, I promise. Because we are Americans.

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Nothing else, no more.

With these empty words, to put it mildly, the next chapter in American history begins. I don’t really understand why it should spark hope.


Victor Malm is a critic and editor of the Expressen Culture page.

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