“We shall write an American story of hope not fear, unity not division, light not darkness, a story of decency and dignity, love and healing, greatness and goodness.”
Joe Biden said those words during his twenty one minute inauguration speech today at Capitol Hill, shortly after being sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts.
In a time when the pandemic is surging, jobs are lost, and Americans divided by political interests, it is encouraging to hear a newly elected president speak about achieving unity as a nation in spite of our differences.
He also spoke to Americans who did not vote for him. The President promised that he will “fight for those who voted for me as hard as those who did not.” We can only hope that he lives up to those remarks.
Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama and First Ladies Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, and Michelle Obama attended the inauguration. Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence were also present in addition to Members of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the musical performers: Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, and Garth Brooks.
“Politics does not have to be a raging fire,” Biden said. I do not remember many members of Congress or other political figures who have said something similar to this. Regardless of party, most of us agree that there is too much division in American politics, and this division arguably caused the insurrection of the Capitol just two weeks ago.
“Don’t tell me we can’t change.” Vice President Kamala Harris is the first woman and woman of color to serve as United States Vice President. There is a lot of work to be done in order to truly achieve racial justice, but perhaps this is a start to show generations to come that in spite of our race, religion, or culture, we can become elected to a position of power in United States democracy.
Biden is expected to sign executive orders in the next few hours, including a mask mandate on federal property and an order issuing a legal pathway to citizenship for eleven million immigrants. Harris will accompany him to the Arlington National Cemetery later this afternoon to pay respects to the fallen soldiers of the American military.
Democracy is here to stay in the United States of America and no rioters can take that away from us.