Ahhhhh … it is like a breathe of fresh air to have positive news on the political front to write about. Already I can feel the difference in the tone of the news sites I frequent … well, most of them, anyway. And it was truly bliss to troll the news this evening and see not one single thing about the person who left the White House for the final time yesterday morning. So, forward we move.
My usual ‘snarky snippets’ came about as a direct result of you-know-who and his cohorts, and there isn’t a doubt in my mind that I will still have many more snarky snippets, for there are still many unsavory elements in our government, such as Josh Hawley, Marjorie Taylor-Greene, and Lauren Boebert. Add to that the long-termers like Jim Jordan, Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham … and well, you can see how the snarky snippets will be around for a while. However, there will also be times that, finally, I will be writing about positive things happening and those need a different name. The best I could come up with last night was ‘Not-so-snarky Snippets’, but you guys are more than welcome to think up something better if you can. My mind is tired and my imagination took a long hike and hasn’t returned yet.
First bit of good news …
After the inaugural festivities yesterday, something awesome happened. Vice-President Kamala Harris administered the oath of office to newly elected Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, both from the state of Georgia, and Alex Padilla, the former California secretary of state, who was appointed by California Governor Gavin Newsom to fill Harris’ own Senate seat.
The Senate is now tied with 50 Republican senators and 50 Democratic senators, however in the event of a tie on any given vote, Vice President Harris will provide the tie-breaking vote, so in essence, there is now a Democratic majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. It is my hope that this will streamline the process of President Biden’s nominees for cabinet positions being confirmed, not to mention other legislation being passed. What would really be nice is if the two parties reached across the aisle and worked in a bi-partisan manner for the best interests of the country, but perhaps that’s asking just a wee bit too much.
Never too soon to get to work
President Biden and his wife had an exhausting day yesterday, with all the inaugural activities. Personally, I felt more sorry for the First Lady, for her feet had to be killing her after wearing those high-heeled shoes all day! Heck, it wore me out and all I had to do was sit here at my computer, with occasional breaks to fold a load of laundry or cook supper. However, that didn’t stop the President from getting busy once the festivities were over.
“I think some of the things we’re going to be doing are going to be bold and vital. And there’s no time to start like today.”
President Biden signed 17 executive orders yesterday, pertaining to the environment, education, the pandemic, and immigration. Just a brief overview of a few of them …
- One order was to rejoin the Paris Climate Accords which we so negligently backed out of in 2019, though unofficially we backed out of our obligations under the agreement in 2017. This was one of my biggest hopes, that we would re-join, for we were one of only 9 nations on the planet that was not committed to reversing the effects of climate change, and in fact had increased our CO2 emissions with the rollback of environmental regulations.
- Biden also revoked the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline that has been the source of numerous leaks and spills, damaging water supplies and endangering both human and wildlife. The pipeline would also have increased CO2 emissions significantly and have further damaged the atmosphere.
- The President signed an order repealing the ban on travel from several majority-Muslim nations.
- Another order called on the Department of Homeland Security to extend the initiative protecting ‘dreamers’, people who were brought to this country as children, from deportation and issuing them work permits.
- He put an end to the false ‘national emergency’ that was put into place by his predecessor as a means for obtaining additional funding to build a wall – a wall that had no purpose but would cost billions, if not trillions of taxpayer dollars.
- Pandemic relief
- In a directive to the Department of Education, Biden asked the department to consider extending a freeze on both interest and principal payments for federal student loans until September 30th.
- In a separate directive he asked the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to extend a moratorium on evictions that expires after this month to at least through March.
- Biden rescinded the “1776 Commission” established by his predecessor. The commission, staffed by 18 ultra-conservative members, not a historian in the bunch, recommended the teaching of history as viewed through rose-coloured glasses. An alternate reality, or revisionist history so to speak, that downplayed the darker side of the history of the nation, glossed over or even changing facts to glorify or ignore such things as slavery, Jim Crow, Japanese internment camps, the turning back of the SS St. Louis carrying Jewish refugees from Hitler’s Germany. I breathed a sigh of relief when I heard he had rescinded the commission, for this is the way authoritarian countries educate their young, with fantasy that suits the leaders, rather than facts.
All in all, President Biden had a busy day, and from the looks of it, all his days are going to be pretty busy. I cannot argue with a single thing he’s done thus far, though of course some Republican lawmakers are … shall we say, not happy. I’ve read a number of comments from them this evening and finally stopped after I found myself saying, “Shut up, bitch” to my computer. I figured it was time for me to turn my thoughts elsewhere, for the past couple of weeks have already taken a toll. Now’s the time to find the positive, and there will be plenty of that, I think.
Aside from all that, I was moved to tears a few times yesterday morning while watching the ceremony. Funny, when I watched the last inauguration in 2017, I was spitting and cursing, but yesterday morning I was mellow … and thankful that sanity has returned to the White House.