Reaffirming inauguration rituals after Capitol assault

first_img Related Experts say cultural resources may help heal battered nation after brutal 2020 “Biden has picked up on that. He’s promising he’s going to have a hundred million vaccinations at the end of his first 100 days. He’s already made two big announcements about launching major programs on the economy and COVID. He’s giving speeches as a drum roll: Here are the things I’m doing.”Ultimately, said Gergen, “The inauguration is an expression of joy in the Constitution and our democracy.” This year, he said, the ritual will be most welcomed. “This inauguration, it strikes me, will be far less about joy than about relief and reflection,” he said. The two-month post-election wait used to be four, and a constitutional scholar thinks it should be shorter still A poetic beginning The inauguration today — our nation’s 59th — is about more than the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next. While it certainly achieves that, the ceremony at noon, which will be held on the west side of the Capitol, has also come to symbolize the significance of the office and signal the kind of administration the incoming president intends to establish.But this one will be markedly different from those of more recent decades. Absent will be the celebratory crowds and glittering social events, owing to COVID-19 concerns. And thousands of additional members of law enforcement and the National Guard will be present to provide security after last week’s smashing of decorum and symbols by a rioting mob of Trump supporters inside the Capitol.The central goal, however, remains unchanged: the reaffirmation of a cornerstone of democracy. Many of the rituals have accrued over time. Very little of the pomp and circumstance we have come to expect is actually necessitated by the Constitution. “The Constitution is quite spare in its vision of what should take place,” explains David Gergen, LL.B. ’67, professor of public service at Harvard Kennedy School and a onetime top adviser to four different presidents, Republican and Democrat. “It simply says there should be a taking of the oath.”“There weren’t always public outdoor ceremonies,” said Jon C. Rogowski, associate professor of government and the author, with Andrew Reeves, of the upcoming, “No Blank Check: Public Opinion and Presidential Power.” Although George Washington’s inauguration in 1789 reportedly drew approximately 10,000 people, the public ceremony at the Capitol didn’t start until 1817, while other practices have evolved since.,Many of these will be passed over this year, such as the president and president-elect traveling together to the inauguration, a tradition established in 1837. President Trump plans to skip the ceremony, becoming the first commander-in-chief to do so since Andrew Johnson declined to attend the installation of President Ulysses S. Grant. In addition, any parade — a feature since 1873 — will be substantially different under the current heavy security and with COVID protocols in place.“The reason our inaugurations have grown over time is simply that that presidency is a flashpoint for American politics,” said Rogowski. “The American people want to see themselves in the ceremony.”True to this point, the rituals that have evolved are laden with symbolism. Members of Congress are invited, for example, while the chief justice of the Supreme Court typically administers the oath.“The fact that an inauguration is bringing together three branches of government from members of both parties is really important,” explained Rogowski. “It encodes what an inauguration means for the American public and also to the world more broadly.”,Aspects of the ceremony are also personal. Taking the oath on the west side of the Capitol is relatively new, Gergen explained. In 1981, President-elect Ronald Reagan moved it from the east side “because he wanted to look out toward California,” Gergen recalled. Practically, “you get a far bigger crowd over there,” as well, although with the National Mall closed, the in-person audience will not be an issue this year.Having it outdoors, on the site of the last eight inaugurations (Reagan’s second inauguration was moved indoors because of record cold), is also deeply symbolic. Despite security concerns, the incoming president has  resisted calls to hold the ceremony indoors. “I think it would have been a surrender,” noted Gergen. “I’m sure he didn’t want to do it because he wants to show that he’s not going to be intimidated.”The resumption of an inaugural poetry reading, a tradition skipped by Trump, sends a different signal. It reaches back to the administrations of previous Democratic presidents John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. And then there is the selection of poet Amanda Gorman ’20, the first youth poet laureate and a woman of color. “She’s terrific,” Gergen said. But he also noted that, while past poets have included more established figures such as Robert Frost, Maya Angelou, and Elizabeth Alexander, Biden chose a young poet  — Gorman is 22 —with a relatively low profile. “He’s not going for royalty. He’s for the middle class. His authenticity is very important to him.”The family Bible that Biden has chosen carries its own history. Dating back to 1893, it also served for his oaths of office as a senator and vice president. “The long family ties relate to the general message that this is not going to be someone who is unmoored from the values and principles that he’s conducted his private and public business with for decades,” said Rogowski.The centerpiece of the ceremony — the inaugural speech, stating the administration’s themes — is already being telegraphed. “We’re already seeing something unfold that we haven’t seen for a long time,” said Gergen. “An echo of FDR taking over in 1933. You will recall that that speech — ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself’ — triggered 100 days of major accomplishments. Major legislative bills went through, and they just kept rolling.center_img Brighter days for arts forecast in Biden administration First U.S. youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman to deliver reading at Biden inauguration The oddities of Inauguration Day The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news.last_img read more

Route 4 bridge to NH to restrict heavy truck traffic starting Monday

first_imgTRUCK RESTRICTIONS ON LEBANON, NH – HARTFORD, VT BRIDGEUS ROUTE 4 BRIDGE OVER THE CONNECTICUT RIVERThe New Hampshire Department of Transportation and the Vermont Agency of Transportation have announced the planned restriction of heavy truck traffic and the use of alternating one-way traffic on the US Route 4 Bridge over the Connecticut River connecting Lebanon, New Hampshire (Bridge Street) and Hartford (White River Junction), Vermont (Maple Street) on Monday, July 21, 2008.This truck restriction will be in place pending further inspections and evaluation of the bridge. Initial evaluations and analysis of the bridge have found continued and significant corrosion on the steel structure. Depending on what further inspections show, it is possible the bridge will be posted to a 10-ton load capacity to protect public safety.Signs will be in place beginning July 18 alerting motorists to the trucking restrictions and advising trucks to seek alternate routes, including the Interstate 89 bridges over the Connecticut River.The 390-foot long US Route 4 Bridge was built in 1936 and rebuilt in 1976. It is a State of New Hampshire “Red List” bridge, with more frequent inspections required due to known deficiencies. It is scheduled to be replaced in 2010.last_img read more

Eidesvik nets LNG-fueled PSV contract extension

first_imgImage courtesy of Eidesvik OffshoreNorway’s Eidesvik Offshore has secured a new contract for its LNG-fueled platform supply vessel Viking Queen. The company said in its statement that the contract was awarded by the compatriot energy company Equinor.The new contract will commence in direct continuation of the existing contract expiring end February 2020, Eidesvik Offshore said in its statement.The firm period of the new contract is 8 months, with options for further extensions, the statement reads.Viking Queen built in 2008 by Westcon Yard in Ølensvåg, Norway has a length of 92,3 meters and is fueled by liquefied natural gas.last_img

No panic for McDowell

first_imgFormer US Open champion Graeme McDowell will avoid reaching for the panic button when he competes in this week’s Alstom Open de France. McDowell did win the Volvo World Match Play crown in Bulgari, but his missed cut in last week’s Irish Open was the fifth in his last six strokeplay events and left him spending the weekend at Carton House on the practice range, alongside compatriot Rory McIlroy, looking for some form ahead of the upcoming Open Championship. “Obviously that Volvo World Match Play offsets some really average golf for me I suppose,” McDowell admitted in his pre-tournament press conference at Le Golf National. “I feel like I went into the US Open a bit under golfed to be honest with you; (with) a few missed cuts here and there and playing a slightly reduced schedule this year.” Press Associationcenter_img He added: “I really just haven’t had enough course time the last couple of months and that was highlighted at the US Open – he shot rounds of 76 and 77 at Merion – and it was highlighted a little bit last week in Ireland, missing by one there. “I thought I had snuck in for the weekend and I could have done with a couple of extra rounds of golf under my belt, but used the weekend constructively, hit a lot of balls. “I feel like, thankfully, I’ve got a couple of victories under the belt this year to offset maybe the panic button being hit. It is a good thing to be coming into this run of golf fresh I suppose, I’ve got a lot of golf coming up here the next few months. “The game’s not in terrible shape to be honest with you. It’s been a fine line here and there. The motivation’s there and I’m feeling hungry and ready to go this summer. “I’ve worked very hard the last 10 days or so and I’ve probably hit as many balls in the last 10 days as I have in a couple of months really. I could do with a weekend here where I compete and play four rounds, get the old juices flowing.” McDowell is one of three players in the world’s top 10 competing in Paris, the world number nine being joined by eighth ranked Luke Donald and number five Matt Kuchar. last_img read more