Finally, I Can Draw Scenes of Hope Again
It’s a relief to not have to focus on a hateful man anymore
The past two weeks have been emotional and frightening. Between the violent insurrection on the nation’s capital and the threats seeking to undermine the election results, there were plenty of reasons to fear whether the United States would see a peaceful transition of power. But today was joyous. It was a celebration of our democracy and its strength as Joe Biden was sworn in as president. And it was truly a historic event, with Kamala Harris becoming the first woman —not to mention the first woman of color —to serve as vice president.
In 2016, I was fortunate to attend the inauguration in Washington, D.C., and live-draw the event in person for a major news outlet. It was the scene of Donald Trump’s now-infamous “American carnage” speech that would set the tone for his presidency. His inauguration came with a certain tense feeling mixed with confusion. In Washington that day, I saw many very happy people wearing MAGA hats, and I wanted to be happy for them. In fact, I sort of was. But what I knew of Trump did not reflect what I thought our country represented. Plus, I had forcefully supported Hillary Clinton and wanted to see a woman as president. Trump’s inauguration — as his whole presidency — was a frightening, unnerving puzzle.
This year, I had planned to attend the inaugural events once again and draw not only the speakers but all that I saw in Washington that day. I’d reserved a hotel room months in advance and made my Amtrak reservations to travel to the capital for three days to absorb history. The pandemic was a concern, but I knew I would be careful. Then the events of January 6 happened, and a mob of domestic terrorists stormed and violated the U.S. Capitol. Security concerns were paramount for the inauguration, and my family was concerned for my safety. When D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser asked that people not attend, it was clear. I canceled my reservations.