A CORKMAN who voted for Joe Biden in the recent US presidential election said that tensions in the US are continuing to simmer as preparations get underway for his inauguration ceremony today.
Father of three and Blackrock native Morgan O’Sullivan, who lives in Delray Beach, Florida, said they are happy to see this day finally arrive after four long years.
Nonetheless, Mr O’Sullivan said that it was regrettable that the historic occasion is playing out under such challenging circumstances.
Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the US in a ceremony the like of which the US has never seen before.
Kicking off at 11.30am US time, drastic measures have been taken to ramp up security following the invasion of the US Capitol Building by Trump supporters. Spectator numbers will be limited and even outnumbered by police and the secret service.
The traditional inauguration parade, ball and luncheon will now give way to virtual celebrations. Performances from stars such as Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez are set to go ahead as scheduled.
Mr O’Sullivan, who works in the financial aid department of a university, said it will take time before peace and unity can be restored.
“I think there will be less rhetoric and more peace-building, but it’s going to take time,” he said.
“There is a lot to be rolled back as the situation here is very polarised at the moment. You might say we have been waiting four years for this day, even if it’s not happening under the circumstances we’d like. It will be a fresh new start but we can only hope that, day by day, things get better and relationships can be rebuilt.”
He said that there is fear of more unrest from Trump fans after the Us Capitol Building incident.
“It’s been a bizarre year. We’ve seen everything that happened in the build-up to the election. My feeling was that if Trump didn’t win the election there was going to be trouble. It’s been simmering for a good while.
“In all my years in the US, there has always been an element of polarisation, but it’s come to a head now. People were encouraged and given a voice and this is ultimately what happened. Since Covid started, Trump had been putting it out there that the election was going to be rigged. This view was promoted and encouraged. Once that train starts moving it’s very hard to stop it.”
According to Mr O’Sullivan, many Americans are still in denial about the election.
“If someone was driving around with a Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael flag in Ireland months after an election was lost, you would think they were off the wall. However, there are still people driving around with Trump flags at the back of their cars.”
He said that suspicion and denial around election results continue to be fuelled by some politicians.
“A lot will depend on how the politicians handle it and if they are going to keep fuelling and pushing the line that the election was stolen. We are seeing a lot of them saying it is time for peace and unity but this will depend on the next few months.”