I understand QAnon cultists are shaken that their most treasured beliefs about Trump didn't happen. But I have enough confidence that people who believe lunatic conspiracies told them by "someone" they have ZERO idea who it is will figure out a way to justify being wrong.— Robert Elisberg (@relisberg) January 22, 2021
Okay, a day has passed, and I've been looking for some comments on TV, but while it got some coverage, I think too much of the television media missed that the young man reciting from John F. Kenney's Inaugural Address in the Celebrating America television special was Brayden Harrington. He's the same fellow who was featured during the Democratic National Convention after Joe Biden (who grew up as a stutterer) had met him on the campaign trail, stayed in touch and helped him with the boy's serious stutter. Perhaps the media who missed it did so because they didn't recognize his name and because he was flawless now. An impressive testament to his work in such a short time, and to Joe BIden's stepping in during his presidential campaign to help.
Just as a reminder, this is some of the background on the story and how it all began.
To add to it, though, is that when they met at a primary campaign event, it was in February, 2020. That means between then -- when the deeply-shy boy was having a challenging time to talk to Biden at all -- and now, when speaking to the nation on the Celebrating America special was less than a year ago.
Though the above clip had snippets, this is his full appearance at the Democratic Convention, which is what brought so much deserved attention.
And this is his appearance on Inaugural night in the Celebrating America TV special which was pretty much overlooked by the TV media. As I said, it was probably because they didn't remember his name -- and because, watching him in such a short period of time -- it is near impossible to recognize him as the kid who a year earlier, before meeting Joe Biden, had a debilitating stutter.
Now, for the second time speaking on national television under perhaps the highest profile and spotlight one can imagine -- the nomination and then Inauguration of the President of the United States. That's courageous for anyone, let alone a kid, whoever they are. Quite a kid. And less than a year from when he met and Joe Biden met.
One last thing: although the TV media may have overlooked this, the viewing public didn't. I posted the video of his Inauguration speech that night. How moved were people by all this? Usually, a really popular tweet of mine will eventually get maybe 30-50 "Likes. In just 20 minutes, this one got over 1,000! And kept soaring, almost geometrically. Within the next 25 minutes, it hit 4,000. It is now, the next day, at 17,000. With the numbers still skyrocketing. And almost all the 436 who thus far have taken the time to comment said they had recognized him and were enthralled. Or said, "I recognized him -- and began sobbing." The very few who didn't realize who it was said they were amazed it was the same kid.
When last night's Celebrating America concert ended on MSNBC, Rachel Maddow quipped at the anchor desk how courageous John Legend was to cover Nina Simone, when he sang "Feeling Good," that she had a hit with. She was under the impression, as I suspect are many people, that Nina Simone was the first to record "Feeling Good." In fact, I suspect that most people are under the impression that the song is an old spiritual. It's used regularly in commercials -- one is currently running -- for its deep soulfulness.
In fact, Nina Simone was covering Gilbert Price.
I'm sure that most people are scratching their heads at the name.
As it happens, "Feeling Good" is not only not an old soulful spiritual, it's about as far from that as you can get. In fact, it's from a Broadway musical, the 1965 show The Roar of the Greasepaint, the Smell of the Crowd. And it was written by two British songwriters -- Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse. Yes, that Anthony Newley.
(For the record, Newley wrote the music, Bricusse the lyrics.)
In fairness, the song does have a deeply spiritual foundation to it in the show. The musical is about two men, the upperclass Sir and lowerclass Cocky playing the Game of Life, for which Sir makes all the rules and always win. At one point in the show, while Sir and Cocky are arguing, the character name "the Negro" wanders into the game and makes to the center and to his stunned surprise -- and their shock, especially Sir -- wins. That's when he sings this song.
Gilbert Price played the role in the show. And it's an impressive rendition. As strong as most any you've heard. Indeed, you'd likely be hard-pressed to know that this was from a Broadway musical if you heard his recording out of context.
But still, "Feeling Good" is from a Broadway musical.
As the clock was ticking earlier this week to the end of the Trump disaster, a friend sent me one of his periodic head-exploding emails, where his legitimate concerns get blown a bit off-course the more he has time to think about them and worry about them and get distressed about them -- and then need to be talked off the ledge.
His latest concern, as he watch the administration ending and Trump not in jail and his children not in jail and his top cabinet officials and advisers not in jail and the most-complicit Republicans in Congress not in jail, and no investigations even started yet, is that none of this sedition to overthrow democracy will be "investigated, exposed and prosecuted."
And so it was my responsibility to...well, again, talk him off the ledge.
I feel comfortable saying that there is NO way in heaven and earth that this won’t be investigated, exposed and prosecuted. Already, the FBI is investigating and have almost 100 arrests, and it will build from there. Already, Nancy Pelosi announced an investigation headed by the wonderful Russel Honoré. And then on January 20, the Democrats take control of the Senate – and you know there will be hearings and investigations there.
And there is NO way this will be forestalled or put aside under the “galling appeal for unity.” I say that with certainty not only from all the scathing, red-hot infuriated responses I see from those in Congress on social media when replying directly to Republicans crying to “move forward” and “unity” without any admission of guilt or consequences or not only because Democrats actually know in the core of their beings that it was an attempt to overthrow the government – but for another far-more basic reason: the reality that every member in Congress quite literally had their lives at risk, hiding out for hours – hiding with Republicans some of whom were likely actually complicit in the attacks, but also many who refused to wear masks and who put all their lives even further at risk and laughed about it. Some were calling home to say goodbye. That is not something you forget and put aside to “move forward” for any reason, let alone “unity.” Republicans may want to move forward, but that’s because they’re terrified of the results of investigation, not to have “unity.” Democrats KNOW that there was an insurrection to overthrow the government, KNOW that they lived throw four years of this, KNOW that many of them were threatened for four year and KNOW that their lives were truly at risk while hiding out for two hours. They are not sweeping this under the rug. No way on earth. They are enraged.
And the FBI is investigating with everything they’ve got. In part because it’s what they do, and in part because they’ve lived through four years of Trump and had their agency dismantled as part of this sedition.
And more to the point, the horror of this will only grow as more stories and videos and information comes out. Our galled, furious reaction is only from the tip of the iceberg. The moment something as singular as just one Republican in Congress or the administration is shown involved, the roof will be blown off – and the whole party will be tarnished. And Republicans will know that they are all tarnished, and so some -- no, not many, but a few -- will do everything to protect themselves and the party, and try to show how clean they are and patriotic by helping Democrats prosecute all the “real perpetrators” to the fullest. But they’ll still all be tarnished. And I feel pretty confident saying that there is at the very least just one Republican in Congress or the administration who was involved. Probably several. If not many.
This is a GOP disaster and one that will unravel once people start trying to save their skin. Not to mention most of the insurrectionists trying to save their skin, especially those who were more “caught up” in it, rather than organized it.
I don’t know if everything here will come to pass. I think it will or most. But I do know that Democrats who had their lives at literal risk are not letting this “move forward” without there being consequences.
And with that, my friend laughed, got off the ledge, and said, yes, that's right. And lived to get utterly furious another day.
And we'll close out this wonderful Inauguration Day for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris -- which started a wee-bit early here in Los Angeles, as I got up at 5:15 AM so as not to miss any coverage -- with one final song by George and Ira Gershwin, sung by Ella Fitzgerald, just for a touch of fun and a fine coda.
Okay, I was planning to post this anyway, but it's a perfect follow-up to the tweet I posted earlier from the New York Times reporter. So, in our recent songfest, we'll go a bit touchy-feely with one more. But this from Cass Elliot is appropriate and the right way to start.
If I was posting another song about this, it would be "It Only Takes a Moment" from Hello, Dolly!
To anyone who has had any doubts what the world has thought of Trump or what a different Joe Biden could make to the country and world, just hours after being sworn in as President of the United States, this New York Times war correspondent posted this about the president of Iran and the nuclear deal that Trump scuttled.
Even though, no, it's not actually a "quid quo pro," the point is totally clear.
And with only one mere hour left, as Trump has departed airspace from Washington, D.C. to Florida, we offer a final so long and a wave. As the expression goes, don't let the door hit you on the way out --
As the minutes dwindle down to a precious few, we'll start the sociopathic, fascist, seditious, white supremacist, pathologically lying Trump's final day in office with a final and proper send-off from Randy Rainbow.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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