On his Inauguration Day, President Biden was able to wedge in one last campaign ad.
In place of the usual inaugural ball coverage — you know, a nice ballad from Beyoncé while the president and first lady slow dance — we got a celeb-stuffed, sober concert called “Celebrating America” that aired on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and MSNBC in primetime.
Hoping that Rachel Maddow would sing “You’re A Grand Old Flag” while twirling flaming batons, I was disappointed by the less exciting, but just as transparent 90-minute program. The evening was little more than a self-righteous PR opportunity for the new administration.
A press release said the program would “showcase the American people’s resilience, heroism, and unified commitment to coming together as a nation to heal and rebuild.”
Calm down, guys. This showcased Jon Bon Jovi on a dock in Florida.
OK, occasionally it actually did what its title claimed it would. Songs were introduced by frontline workers, teachers and kid volunteers. Nobody would deny their heroism or worthiness. But those segments, of course, were narrated by Biden, and looked like the sort of 30-second spot you’d see on an Ohio TV set on Nov. 6.
Just hours after the most important speech of his life, Biden got to give another one. And this time, instead of being introduced by Amy Klobuchar, he got upgraded to Tom Hanks.
“[We] wanted to make sure our inauguration was not about us, but about you,” the president said while standing in the humble, selfless Lincoln Memorial.
“Because of you, democracy has prevailed,” added the prez. So, if the other guy had gotten more votes, democracy would have screwed up? Never mind. Bring on the songs.
In recent days, politicians and experts have told us the darkest days of the pandemic are still raging. You wouldn’t know that from the chipper music choices: Jon Bon Jovi covered “Here Comes The Sun,” Justin Timberlake and Ant Clemons duetted on “Better Days,” John Legend sang Nina Simone’s classic “I’m Feeling Good” and the Foo Fighters wailed “Times Like These” (“I’m a new day rising!,” go the lyrics).
Demi Lovato later jammed to “Lovely Day” while Biden and first lady Jill Biden awkwardly ambled around the White House and Katy Perry belted “Firework” while the D.C. sky filled with light in the finale, See? As of today, things are going great!
Tomorrow, networks should stop giving their guy free airtime to spout empty feel-goodisms and demand real action. Hold the powerful accountable, right? Or was that just for the past four years?