“Politics must not be a raging fire, destroying everything in its path. Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for all-out war, ”Biden said. “And we must reject the culture in which the facts themselves are manipulated and even fabricated.”
Biden, who entered a primary race teeming with fresh-faced Democrats, has at times been mocked for being out of touch and not progressive enough and for keeping the sentimental idea that politics can be a collaborative process even in times of hyperpartisanship . Advisers say it was him avoiding the mistakes of his youth – no longer trying to fit into someone else’s mold (a new Kennedy, a foreign policy sage) but, on the contrary, being true to his beliefs, even outdated ones. In the end, they say, that consistency and familiarity served him well. His message never wavered, even through his inauguration.
“The call for survival comes from the planet itself, a cry that cannot be more desperate or clearer,” Biden said. “And now a rise in political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and that we will overcome.
The consistency of the message also served to underscore Biden’s promise of a return to stability. Biden has vowed his administration will be a stark contrast to the chaos and tumult of his predecessor, a president whose name Biden did not mention in his inaugural address.
“We’re going to get through this, together. The world is watching today. So here is my message to those beyond our borders: America has been tested and we have come out stronger. We will mend our alliances and engage with the world again, ”he said.
The fact that the inauguration – and Biden’s speech about it – was shrouded in darkness was perhaps appropriate given all he went through. Its political trajectory has been filled with promises and personal tragedies. It was racial strife in his hometown of Wilmington, he said, that forced him to quit his potentially lucrative path in law and become a public defender.
Unlike other politicians, Biden has never hidden the extent of his ambition. He first ran for president in 1988, only to pass away dramatically, then run again twenty years later and pass away again. In a brief before this last race, he admitted that he had always felt a call to serve and a sense of belonging to the leaders of the nation.
“Ever since I was little, I had an image in my head of the kind of man I wanted to become, an image filled by my mother and father, by the teachings of the Catholic schools I attended, by stories that I attended. I had heard about our family hero, Uncle Bosie, a pilot who was shot down in World War II, and by a belief in the size of my own future, ”Biden wrote in“ Promises to Keep ”. “It turned out that surprising political opportunities opened up for me when I was young. When they did, I didn’t hesitate to go after them, as I already had a picture of what to do – how I should conduct myself – to enjoy it.
When he visited the White House on Wednesday after his inaugural address, he was asked how he felt. One has the impression, he replied “as if I were going home”.
Although often thoughtful, there was little biography in Biden’s speech. Instead, his attention was both figurative and literally directed outward, as he looked down on a crowd that has been forced to socially distance itself due to a raging pandemic and a capital that was transformed into a militarized zone because of the deadly insurgency weeks earlier.
He didn’t hesitate to admit that thousands of armed soldiers roamed the streets, tanks cut across intersections, train lines had been closed, and those hoping to celebrate a new day by watching in person were greeted with warmth. razor wire. and seven foot fences. Instead, he did what he did when discussing Charlottesville for the launch of his campaign: he approached it head on.
“We are here, just days after an emotional crowd thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work of our democracy and to drive us out of this sacred ground,” said Biden said. “This does not happen. That will never happen.”