SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Following the swearing-in of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, Ozarks First talked to KOLR 10’s Political Analyst Dr. Brian Calfano, about his top five notable moments from the day.
1. Trump leaving on Air Force One with Sinatra’s “My Way” playing
Calfano noted it was an unusual song choice, saying he had never seen a sitting president “leave without having some kind of patriotic-sounding song, or the official hail to the chief.” Calfano continued, “I don’t know if we’ve heard anything besides marching band music when a president does something like leave a scene like that.”
“It was just one of those moments I don’t think anyone really expected from today, even though we’ve been taught to expect the unexpected from former President Trump,” said Calfano.
2. Biden inviting congressional leaders of both parties to a church service before the inauguration.
This stuck out to Calfano because “That prayer service a lot of times is just for the president-elect and his family. There is not a lot of tradition that goes into this precedent we saw set today.”
Connecting this gesture to Biden’s potential future term, Calfano said “I think that was an interesting choice for Biden because it helps to show that his administration is going to be about bipartisanship, it’s going to be working together, and finding a way forward even though there’s going to be these differences that still exist.”
3. Justice Sotomayor swearing-in VP Kamala Harris.
“It’s a good thing, from a political perspective, to have people in the top levels of power in the country who look like the citizens paying taxes, going to work, raising families, that Americans of different races do,” said Calfano.
Calfano found the moment notable by further saying “The fact that the United States has not had a female president or vice president in history until today…for us was a real wake up call that this is not just something for people on the left to feel good…They’re not pushing diversity, we are diverse, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”
4. Biden saying “I get it” in talking to the American people about the medical and economic challenges they face.
This stuck out to Calfano as the most impactful part of Biden’s speech. “When he got personal about loss, struggle, and the challenges so many Americans are facing because of COVID and the economic impacts that COVID has brought on the country… he almost got down to the point in his voice where it sounded like he was just talking to us as individuals.”
5. Garth Brooks having everyone sing the chorus of Amazing Grace.
Calfano was initially expecting a tired retread of Brooks’ performance of his song “We Shall Be Free” at the Obama inauguration, but was pleasantly surprised. “He didn’t do one of his hits which is great, he did ‘Amazing Grace’ which is beyond appropriate for the moment.”
Noting how Americans are typically bystanders and spectators for inaugurations, Calfano said “In this case, Brooks invited them to join with those conducting the ceremony in this collective sense of something bigger than ourselves.”