WASHINGTON – Faced with monumental challenges that other executives have faced every few generations, President Joe Biden has pledged to rally a country he says is going through a “time of trial.”
In doing so, he drew a clear line between what he considers “disagreements” and “disunity.”
“We are faced with an attack on our democracy, in truth, a raging virus, growing inequality, searing systemic racism, a climate crisis, an attack on America’s role in the world,” he said.
Any of these problems would have been enough to leave the United States with a serious choice, he said, but the new president inherited them all at once.
However, in his first address to the country as president, Biden focused on the deep and acute political division that made effective federal government action impossible.
“Words are not enough to overcome these difficulties, restore the soul and protect America’s future,” Biden said. “What is needed is the most elusive thing in democracy — unity.”
While seemingly admitting that a complete unification of the American people was virtually impossible, he nevertheless pointed out that in previous difficult times in the country’s history, there were always “enough people” among Americans to lead the country forward.
“We can do it now,” he said.
Like most incoming presidents, Biden has pledged to work for the benefit of all Americans, not just those who supported him in the election.
At the same time, he made a personal request to those who opposed him.
“Listen to me as we move forward. Appreciate me and my heart, ”he said. “If you don’t agree, well, so be it. This is democracy. This is America. Perhaps the greatest strength of our country lies in the right to peaceful disagreement within our republic. However, I want to be clearly heard: disagreements should not lead to separation. “
According to Aaron Call of the University of Michigan, Biden’s inaugural speech did not contain “a catchphrase that would be truly memorable.”
At the same time, Call added: “The future success of his legislative agenda will determine how history will remember this speech at this turbulent and unique moment in time.”
In his speech, Biden paid tribute to the three former presidents attending the ceremony: Democrats Barack Obama and Bill Clinton and Republican George W. Bush, as well as Democrat Jimmy Carter, who was unable to travel to Washington.
He did not mention his predecessor, Donald Trump, who decided not to participate in the inauguration and never recognized the legitimacy of Biden’s victory.
However, in his speech, Biden made it clear that he wants to offer the country a break from the Trump presidency.
“Politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire destroying everything in its path,” he said. “Any disagreement should not be a reason for an all-out war.”
Returning to the main theme, he said that “without unity there is no peace, only bitterness and rage, no progress, only exhausting indignation, no country, but only a state of chaos.”