In Divided City, Inauguration Day Responses Show No Easy Path to Unity

During his campaign, new President Joe Biden repeatedly vowed to work to reunite our divided nation, and it was a central theme of his inaugural address on Wednesday.

But if the new administration is serious about bringing the country back together, Inauguration Day responses by residents in Canby — a traditionally conservative town that has become much more of a political battleground in recent years — illustrate just how much work lies ahead.

Shortly after Biden’s inaugural speech, which included the new president’s plea that Americans “stop this uncivil war,” The Canby Current asked readers and local residents on Facebook their thoughts on the event and the state of the country.

Many supported the transition to Biden and new Vice President Kamala Harris, the first woman and person of color in the nation’s history to hold that position.

“It’s a good day,” one woman said. “I feel like I can breathe again.”

“Today is a great day!” another agreed. “I’m sad that so many people have been disillusioned by former President Trump, and I pray for them that their eyes will be opened to the truth. It does not take away, however, the fact that our nation is now being led by an honest and capable president. Our nation will now be able to heal and move forward.”

“Relief and hope,” one commenter simply said, describing their feelings.

“I am the most hopeful I have been in a long time,” another agreed. “Truth instead of lies.”

But many residents of this city — which favored the outgoing president in November’s election by a comfortable margin — were not so easily won over.

A large number of respondents highlighted what they felt was the hypocrisy of Democrats opposing President Trump at every turn for four years, only to call for unity as soon as he’s out of office.

“He started the civil war, him and his party, and now they want to stop it,” one commenter said of Biden. “Go fly a kite. What goes around comes around.”

“LMAO calling for unity after the left spent four years calling us every name on the book,” another agreed. “Joe, you can SUCK IT!!!”

Other posts referenced the unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that Biden’s victory had been the illegitimate result of widespread election fraud.

“The new administration is for a time,” one commenter said. “I do believe Trump will be back. I am unsure how big of a mess he will need to clean up after this new, fraudulently elected person/party.”

Trump did, in his final public remarks before leaving office, vow “we’ll be back in some form,” and though it has been widely speculated he will seek the Republican party’s nomination in 2024, he has not confirmed he will do so.

The only president in U.S. history to be impeached twice, Trump still faces a Senate trial over his actions in inciting the deadly riots at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. If convicted (which would require the votes of all Democrat senators as well as at least 17 Republicans), he would be ineligible to hold public office again.

“Get ready for your $5/gal gas and your $8/gal milk,” another commenter said on our Facebook page, regarding their belief about the impact Biden’s policies will have on the country. “Are you ready to be part of the communist party? … Cannot believe this is America. I hope we make it through the next four years without a collapse.”

“No, we have a Usurper in Chief now,” another agreed.

Later commenters acknowledged the sharp divides that were emerging.

“I feel moderately hopeful for our country, but somewhat disillusioned by and wary of the hateful comments on this thread,” one woman said.

And, as always, some were just thankful for the memes.

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