Inauguration, Capitol riot make for historic month

This story was originally published in the fourth edition of The Lion’s Tale (February 7, 2021).

In Florida, 2021 has started much the same way the previous year ended. With an average of around 11,000 new coronavirus cases each day, it seems that the spread of the virus won’t be slowing down anytime soon. However, President Joe Biden and his administration have made a goal to administer 100 million vaccine doses in just 100 days. Vaccines for the coronavirus are becoming more accessible, with healthcare workers and senior citizens being first in line for the shots. With the new administration in office, many have hope that the spread of the virus will be curbed.

In the weeks leading up to the inauguration of Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, political tensions were higher than ever. In an attempt to stop the confirmation of electoral votes for Biden and Harris, an insurrection occurred at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Called to action by former president Donald Trump at a rally held earlier that day, angry far-right rioters broke into the Capitol building, causing a lockdown and evacuation of Congress and a delay in the confirmation of the votes. Five people were killed, including one police officer.

Just days after the insurrection, Trump was permanently banned from Twitter, among other social media platforms, for spreading false information regarding the election and for inciting violence. On Jan. 13, one week after the storming of the Capitol, the House of Representatives impeached Trump for “incitement of insurrection,” making him the only president in U.S. history to be impeached twice. 

Rumors of more unrest in D.C. and state capitals circulated around the internet in the days leading up to the inauguration. In preparation for potential violence, over 25,000 National Guard troops were deployed to Washington. Nevertheless, Biden and Harris took office on Jan. 20 largely without incident in a scaled-down inauguration featuring masks, social distancing and a limited crowd. While many watched the ceremony virtually, the live audience was limited to members of Congress, family members of the president and vice president and other political figures. Former vice president Mike Pence attended the inauguration while Trump did not.

Both Biden and Harris made history that day, with Biden being the oldest president to take office and Harris being the first female, first African- American and first Asian-American to serve as vice president. In his first day as president, Biden signed multiple executive orders to strengthen the country’s response to the pandemic and rejoin the Paris climate agreement.

The historical events of recent weeks will serve as the background for many of the stories in this fourth edition of The Lion’s Tale. We’ll be reporting on students’ reactions to the Capitol riot and inauguration, and we’ll cover the distribution of coronavirus vaccines and the local impact. We’ll also examine how businesses and their employees are faring as the pandemic continues, make some predictions for 2021, and review new albums and TV shows.

We would also like to note the uptick in positive cases and number of students quarantined since the beginning of the semester. While students and faculty have done a great job creating an environment where in-person instruction is safe despite the coronavirus, The Lion’s Tale urges continued commitment to mask-wearing and other health measures. Finally, we wish a happy and prosperous New Year to all.