The Inauguration of President Joseph R. Biden and Vice President Kamala D. Harris took place on schedule, despite the horde of obstacles and challenges it faced leading up to Jan. 20, 2021. Prioritizing policy approaches to address the COVID-19 and climate crisis, racial justice and domestic extremism within the U.S., President Biden also called for, and stressed greatly, unity during his inaugural address.
Harris made history as the United States’ first female, first black and first Asian-American Vice President, signaling the nation’s path toward equality, equity and the future. During her first speech as V.P., Harris struck the same tone as Biden: a call for unity amongst the nation by calling upon the ambition, determination and aspirational drive that every American possesses.
After the past four years of continually growing hyper-partisanship in politics that have bled into our communities, along with the volatile rhetoric recently used by elected officials, it’s hard to imagine this type of behavior disappearing in response to a call for unity one day. The former President Trump’s absence at the Inauguration, the first absence by a presidential predecessor in over 150 years, is an example of this behavioral deficiency. This poison must be eradicated, though it won’t happen overnight.
Starting with his Inauguration Day speech, President Biden set out to differentiate his message and the tone for his presidency from that of his predecessor. Acknowledging how far the country has evolved since its birth, Biden underscores this with how much the nation still has to go.
His message of unity is an aspiring one, for a nation struggling with racial justice, a climate crisis, a deadly pandemic, a poor economy, and the rise of political extremism. President Biden acknowledges the path forward towards unity will be a difficult one, but it is a path we as a nation must endure together. The past four years have led to a historic culmination of crises that we must embrace head on, as one nation. Start reaching out and saying hello to someone new in your community, a single act of kindness goes a long way.
Passionately declaring himself to be a leader to all Americans, President Biden calls for an end to the un-civil war being waged between republicans, democrats, conservatives, liberals or anyone with differing views or opinions. Achieving unity can’t happen when disagreements lead to disunion, highlighting the devolving political atmosphere on Capitol Hill.
Further highlighting the need for unity, President Biden commemorated the historic peaceful transition of power and its tradition of ensuring a continuous democracy. This moment was highlighted in response to the attempted insurrection of the Capitol on January 6, a couple weeks prior. Unity in the face of an insurrection and violent dissent is a courageous act, and its path to success will be an uphill battle. As Americans, I believe we are well equipped to win that battle.
As the nation edges closer to dystopia with each passing day, President Biden pledges to act as a healer and lead the U.S. into a better future. The Inauguration of Joe Biden marks a shift from a country dealing in “alternative facts” to operating by one shared set of facts, with President Biden asking us to place more value in truth. President Biden stopped short of romanticizing the nation’s tumultuous past and making false claims of goodwill during his speech, being straightforward with the American people.
The spirit of the American people is strong, ambitious and aspirational, determined, bold and optimistic. This American spirit is exactly how we, together as one nation, can rise to occasion for the call to unity. It will take each and every one of us working together, reaching across ideological, political, and partisan lines to work with one another toward a shared goal of unity, prosperity, equity, and justice. As President Biden said, “The American story depends not on any one of us, not on some of us, but on all of us. On ‘We the People’ who seek a more perfect Union.”