Uniting a divided nation – the first task for the new president in the White House
Biden put “uniting our nation” front and centre of his inauguration speech a task made a little more difficult with the absents of his predecessor Donald Trump.
Joe Biden has arrived at the White House for the first time as US president following his inauguration earlier on Wednesday. Mr Biden and his family opted to walk the last few blocks Pennsylvania Avenue to their new home.
Joe Biden was earlier sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, offering a message of unity and restoration to a deeply divided country reeling from a battered economy and a raging coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 400,000 Americans.
Standing on the steps of the US Capitol two weeks after a mob of former president Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the building, Mr Biden called for a return to civic decency in an inaugural address marking the end of Donald Trump’s tempestuous four-year term.
Biden swore to preserve, protect and defend America to the sound of cheers and applause from former presidents, unfortunately, Trump in his absents made the loudest noise his absents echoed continually by US news anchors and their condemnation of the break-in tradition.
Biden stressed that last November’s election result was fair – declaring: “This is democracy’s day. The will of the people has been heard and the will of the people has been heeded.
“We’ve learned again that democracy is precious, democracy is fragile and at this hour my friends, democracy has prevailed.”
Biden promised to “press forward with speed and urgency” during a “winter of peril” to tackle the “once-in-a-century virus that silently stalks the country” – and also vowed to confront white supremacy and terrorism.
He said his prevailing focus will now be on “uniting our nation”, adding: “With unity, we can do great things, important things – we can right wrongs.”
In an apparent snub to Mr Trump, he said he wanted to “make America once again a leading force for good in the world” – continuing: “Let’s start afresh… all of us.”
Mr Biden urged people to “join forces, stop the shouting and lower the temperature”, and said without unity there will be “no nation, only a state of chaos”.
“Politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire destroying everything in its path.
“Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war and we must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured.”
Repeating a motif from his victory speeches in the days after winning the Electoral College vote, Mr Biden promised to be “a president for all Americans”.
“Together we shall write an American story of hope not fear, of unity not division, of light not darkness.”
He ended with: “May God bless America and may God protect our troops, thank you America.”
At this stage and in the midst of what is a world health crisis exasperated by a growing economic crisis Biden must work hard to restore faith in ‘American democracy’ or at least the illusion of that democracy if he hopes to achieve anything going forward.
Lincoln’s House Divided Speech
“A house divided against itself, cannot stand.”
I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.
I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.
It will become all one thing or all the other.
Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.
Biden now has the opportunity to emancipate all Americans in a common struggle of equality uniting that divided house.