Purple is traditionally seen in the US as a symbol of bipartisanship – a combination of the blue of the Democratic Party and red of the Republican party. It is also the color of women’s suffrage and the preferred color of Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress and the first black woman to run for President, whose “unbought and unbossed” life and career inspired Kamala Harris.
Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama too joined Kamala in wearing shades of purple, while thousands of women across the country joined them in donning pearls, a symbol of Kamala’s sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, and the black sisterhood that has supported and sustained her.
Rounding up the symbolism was the sight of Eugene Goodman, the Capitol Police officer who led rioters away from the Senate chamber during the MAGA extremists’ attack, escorting Kamala at the inauguration — a powerful acknowledgement of the guardianship of democracy by a long-reviled racial minority.
Kamala’s family from India did not make it to the inauguration because of Covid concerns and restrictions but her multi-hued family in the US, including her sister Maya, her niece Meena, her grand nieces Amara and Leela, her husband Dough Emhoff and her step-children Cole and Ella, for whom she is “Momala,” were all present.
Signs of healing was everywhere. While a sulking Trump boycotted the inauguration and flew away to Florida to chart his political future, vice-president Pence and the Republican mainstream attended the event, and cheered the momentous swearing in of a woman who will be only a heartbeat away from the White House. Kamala and the Second Gentleman spoke to the Pences and exchanged jokes as they escorted them down the steps of the Capitol where MAGA mobs had chanted “Hang Mike Pence” with setting up gallows and noose outside.
Later in the afternoon, Kamala Harris is slated to administer oath of office — in her capacity as President fo the US Senate — to three newly elected Democratic Senators, symbolising a power shift both in gender and political terms. The nation’s 49ht vic president is also expected to preside over the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, providing a different resonance to Trump’s prime that he will be back “in some form.”