Skip To Content

    The Most Powerful Statement At Joe Biden's Inauguration Happened When People Weren't Speaking

    A "commonplace and miraculous" event calls for a "commonplace and miraculous" accessory.

    The inauguration of President Joseph Robinette Biden and Vice President Kamala Devi Harris was, in the words of Senator Roy Blunt, just one example of a "commonplace and miraculous" event that takes place every four years in the Unites States of America.

    George W. Bush in a blue face mask with an American flag, Nancy Pelosi in a blue floral face mask, Barack Obama and Michelle Obama in black face masks at the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden.
    Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images

    But in addition to the commonplace people and miraculous simplicity of today's festivities, there was also a consistent and stark reminder of the situation we're in as a nation.

    Former baseball player Alexander Rodriguez wearing a black face mask and sunglasses at the the inauguration of President Joe Biden.
    Jonathan Ernst / Getty Images

    This is the first presidential inauguration in the history of America where just attending this ceremonial transfer of power posed an existential threat to attendees and their loved ones and community members.

    Mitt Romney wearing a black face masks as he arrives at for the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th US President.
    Greg Nash / Getty Images

    Attendees old and young protected themselves in the way the CDC has recommended when outside the home — wearing a protective face covering.

    Janet Yellen, seated in an N-95 mask and black jacket, at the inaguration.
    Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images

    These masks were the most unsubtle accessory of the event, the biggest visual reminder that the incoming administration will have a different approach to combating the coronavirus pandemic that has already claimed over 400,000 American lives.

    Sen. Joe Manchin and a woman wearing face masks with the state of West Virginia flag at the inauguration.
    Drew Angerer / Getty Images

    Though some still may not understand the safe and appropriate way to wear said protection...

    Bill Clinton with a star mask on only his chin and mouth and Hillary Clinton in a black face mask at the inauguration.
    Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

    ...masks have nonetheless become a way to make a statement about your belief in science itself.

    Bill Clinton wearing a black face mask with stars and giving a thumbs up at the inaguration.
    Pool / Getty Images

    Something that has until now been so uncommon to see in the White House and official presidential events now appeared on even the most skeptical faces.

    Ted Cruz wearing a grey face mask that reads "Come and Take It" at the inauguration.
    Drew Angerer / Getty Images

    For those who have been regularly wearing masks since they were first recommended by the medical community as a way to curb the spread of COVID-19, it's hard not to see them as merely a part of everyday life.

    Representative Deb Haaland standing, in a floral face mask and yellow scarf, at the inauguration.
    Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images

    It's hard not to think of how some people's masks are so stylish...

    National youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman in a yellow coat and red studded face mask arriving at the inauguration, with another woman behind her in a red coat and floral face mask.
    Win Mcnamee / Getty Images

    ...so fashionable...

    Rep. Terri Sewell in a pink coat, pearl-studded face shield and pink face mask at the inauguration.
    Erin Schaff / Getty Images

    ...so unique.

    Sen. Cory Booker and Rosario Dawson in indigo-dyed face masks at the inauguration.
    Drew Angerer / Getty Images

    But it's been only hours since someone has occupied the most powerful position in the country who thinks face masks should be required on federal property, or at all.

    Former U.S. President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama in black face masks arriving at the inauguration.
    Rob Carr / Getty Images

    It was only a few weeks ago that Republican senators refused to wear masks during the deadly insurrection at the Capitol, resulting in the unnecessary and preventable transmission of COVID-19 to their colleagues and their families.

    Nancy Pelosi in a blue floral face mask and her husband Paul in a navy face mask at the inauguration.
    Jim Lo Scalzo / Getty Images

    In the seven days before this event, there have been over 1.2 million new cases of COVID-19 reported in the US.

    Vice President Kamala Harris in a purple suit and black face mask and her husband Doug Emhoff in a black face mask, standing and waving at the inauguration.
    Drew Angerer / Getty Images

    There's nothing that can be done to bring back everything or everyone that has been lost.

    Sen. Amy Klobuchar in a yellow coat and red floral face mask at the inauguration, standing next to a woman in a pink coat and pink face mask.
    Melina Mara / Getty Images

    But today is a new day.

    People wearing masks reading "I like peaceful transfers of power" pose in front of the U.S. Capitol before the start of the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden.
    Nathan Howard / Getty Images

    And while there were many creative, powerful, and otherwise notable masks at the event...

    House Majority Whip James Clyburn wearing a black mask with "Good Trouble" printed on it at the inauguration.
    Patrick Semansky / Getty Images

    ...the best mask, hands down, was the simple mask on the face of the 46th President of the United States. It's just a mask. But it's also a sign of so much more.

    U.S. President Joe Biden with a face mask and Jill Biden with a blue face mask standing on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. during today's inauguration ceremony.
    Win Mcnamee / Getty Images

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form