…says democracy has prevailed in spite of all odds
…pledges to rebuild alliances with other nations
President Joseph Robinette Biden, yesterday, took his oath of office as the 46th President of the United States of America. At a solemn but colourful ceremony held at the Capitol Hill, Biden vowed to seek the unity and inclusion of all citizens, after turbulent four years that tore at the fabric of American society.
With his hand on a fiveinch- thick Bible that has been in his family for 128 years, Mr. Biden recited the 35-word oath of office swearing to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution” in a ceremony administered by Chief Justice, John G. Roberts Jr., completing the process at 11:49a.m., 11 minutes before the authority of the presidency formally changes hands.
The ritual transfer of power came shortly after Kamala Devi Harris was sworn in as Vice President by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, her hand on a Bible that once belonged to Thurgood Marshall, the civil rights icon and Supreme Court justice.
Ms. Harris’s ascension made her the highest-ranking woman in the history of the United States and the first Black American and first person of South Asian descent to hold the nation’s second highest office. In a veiled reference to the disruptions and controversies that marked the transition period, Biden pleaded with all American to come together and work for the common good of their country. “This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day.
Democracy has prevailed. This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge. And unity is the path forward. And we must meet this moment as the United States of America. If we do that, I guarantee you we will not fail.
“We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal. We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts. I will be a president for all Americans,” he vowed.
Apparently addressing the rising spirit of nationalism and racial superiority, Biden urged all Americans to accept one another as equal rather than creating unnecessary divisions and discriminations. “Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this: bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation. And I ask every American to join me in this cause. Uniting to fight the foes we face, anger, resentment and hatred, extremism, lawlessness, violence, disease, joblessness and hopelessness.
With unity, we can do great things, important things. “We can right wrongs. We can put people to work in good jobs. We can teach our children in safe schools. We can overcome the dead ly virus. We can reward – reward work and rebuild the middle class and make health care secure for all. We can deliver racial justice and we can make America once again the leading force for good in the world. “I know speaking of unity can sound to some like a foolish fantasy these days.
I know that the forces that divide us are deep and they are real. But I also know they are not new. Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we all are created equal, and the harsh ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear, demonization have long torn us apart. “The battle is perennial, and victory is never assured. Through civil war, the great depression, World War, 9/11, through struggle, sacrifices, and setbacks, our better angels have always prevailed. In each of these moments, enough of us – enough of us – have come together to carry all of us forward, and we can do that now,” he said.
Biden acknowledged the trials and tribulations that the U.S. had passed through in the last one year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and urged Americans to pull through the storm together. “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,” he said.
The ceremony brought to a close the stormy and divisive four-year presidency of Mr. Donald Trump. In characteristic fashion,Trump once again defied tradition by leaving Washington hours before the swearing-in of his successor rather than face the reality of his own election defeat, although Mike Pence, his vice president attended the ceremony.
Trump flew to Florida, where he plans to live at his Mar-a-Lago Estate. Biden espoused a vision for changing the narratives of the America story from what it had been in the last four years to an inspiring story. “And together we shall write an American story of hope, not fear, of unity, not division, of light, not darkness.
A story of decency and dignity, love and healing, greatness and goodness. May this be the story that guides, the story that inspires us, and the story that tells age is yet to come,” Biden said.
In the middle of his speech, Biden asked everyone to join him in silent prayer to honour the more than 400,000 Americans who have died in the coronavirus pandemic since last March. In a message to those beyond the American borders, Biden promised to rebuild alliances with other nations in order to ensure a more peaceful works. “America has been tested, and we’ve come out stronger for it. We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again.
Not to meet yesterday’s challenges, but today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. “And we’ll lead not merely by the example of our power, but by the power of our example. We’ll be a strong and trusted partner for peace, progress, and security,” he said.