Joe Biden only needed to avoid threatening civil war to be sure that this inauguration was better than the last. Yet that’s not to say that America’s problems are now solved or that Biden is even sure to be a president well matched to this monumental task, but a new sense of clarity and moral purpose was more than enough to clear what was an extremely low bar. The new president’s words conveyed “meanings” (remember those?) rather than function as gestures towards an aggrieved base. It was a speech light on detail, filled with “big tent” ambition, whilst recent events allowed him to present himself as the product of a functioning system of government rather than a partisan figure. “We celebrate the triumph not of a candidate,” he began, “but of a cause, the cause of democracy”.