People listen as President Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Washington DC (Image: AP/Evan Vucci)

Well good god, it's really happening isn't it? The US presidential inauguration always has a momentous air about it -- the handover from one elected monarch to another -- but this time it's the shift from one whole order of reality to another. Or back to another.

For four years the US and much of the world has endured and enjoyed a presidency that was all foreground, always in your face, an exhausting but enervating parade of chaos, given a keen edge by the fact that its perpetrator could have launched a new, all-involving war -- nuclear or otherwise -- something out of the reach of Rodrigo Duterte or Viktor Orban.

And many thought there'd be four more of it as well, as we cruised towards an election with the Democrats determined to elevate anyone to the nomination -- the late Phil Spector, a ficus plant -- other than Bernie Sanders, take another loss and wait for '24.