‘We will not heal and unify with words alone’

Photo by Gayatri Malhotra for Unsplash

Editor’s note: The high points of the inaugural address Joe Biden should deliver

I tried my hand at writing a suggested version of Joe Biden’s acceptance speech for the Democratic convention last August. Here are the high points of the inaugural address he should deliver on Wednesday:

My fellow Americans,

From the first day of my campaign, I have pledged to help heal and unify our nation.

I know we are deeply divided, and some doubt whether unity is even possible. But I will never give up the hope and promise of one America.

We will not heal and unify with words alone. Now is the time for action.

So I ask all Americans to enlist in a common cause.

We must defeat COVID-19, the deadliest public health crisis in a century that has already taken 400,000 American lives. We must protect ourselves, our loved ones and our neighbors from this virus. That means staying home when sick, wearing masks when in public and getting vaccinated when available. It also means trusting our public health experts and listening to our scientists.

As we control the pandemic, we must also rebuild our economy. That means ensuring the survival of the small businesses that knit together our cities. We should safely reopen our schools and provide child care so parents can return to work if they choose. And it also means putting Americans to work in the campaign against COVID-19, and creating jobs in clean energy that will help us address climate change. We can bring prosperity to many more Americans and make our economy and society fairer than ever before.

This is a noble undertaking, one worthy of our great nation and one that we must accomplish.

I promise again to be a president for all Americans, those who voted for me and those who did not. And I pledge once again to tell the truth, though sometimes those truths are difficult. We must face them head-on.

Moments ago, I took a solemn oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. Two weeks ago, domestic enemies attacked this very Capitol and sought to destroy our democracy.

They failed. But their dark ideology still infects our country. It is as deadly as any virus. We must root out extremism and white supremacy, wall it off in the far corners of our society and, eventually, eradicate it.

This task will not be easy. But we have overcome far worse in our history.

That history is to become a more inclusive country, gaining strength by welcoming people from all over the world. I am extremely proud to have helped in that cause, nominating the most diverse Cabinet ever and picking Kamala Harris as our first female vice president.

Photo from Wiki Commons

Building a more perfect union is the work of every generation of Americans. This one faces many more challenges than most. Yet we have always risen to the moment.

These past four years have been a dark time in America.

But the dawn always comes. Starting today, we move into the light, as one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Postscript: Biden did hit many of these themes in his inaugural address.

“This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day,” he began his speech. Mentioning the Jan. 6 insurrection, he said, “We have learned again that democracy is precious.”

He listed white supremacists and domestic terrorism as challenges facing the nation, along with the COVID-19 pandemic, economic crisis and racial justice. “We have much to do in this winter of peril,” he said.

“I ask every American to join me in this cause,” Biden said, vowing again to unite the nation, though he acknowledged some might think unity is a “foolish fantasy.”

Biden pledged again to work for those who didn’t vote for him, as well as those who did. “Hear me out. Take a measure of me and my heart,” he asked Trump supporters.

And he urged Americans to find common ground. “We must end this uncivil war,” Biden said. “In the work ahead of us, we need each other.”

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1 Comment on "‘We will not heal and unify with words alone’"

  1. Just a little feedback from the other side of the aisle:

    “We must root out extremism and white supremacy” – I am not a white supremacist, but we cannot go about making thoughts crimes – this is not 1984 brought to reality. Further, you WILL NOT end white supremacy by continually touting the fact that you are bringing in people from all over the world and championing ‘diversity’ because that message is explicit in making those ‘non-diverse’ people the enemy and the people specifically targeted for racial/gender discrimination by these initiatives. If you want to people to stop identifying as their gender or race, STOP CONSTANTLY PUSHING NARRATIVES ABOUT RACE AND GENDER. It is enflaming the situation, not healing anything.

    While I am white, it does not define me – I am an American first and foremost. When I watch the Olympics, I cheer for the US athlete regardless of color even when they are competing against the white German guy that should be my natural choice to support if your race theories are correct. I support AMERICANS – not my race. Your fixation on race has actually turned you into the racist – and sadly – you will act on those racists beliefs in hiring decisions, voting for government officials, etc. That is equal parts sad and sickening to me. For the scary ‘white supremacist that you fear, they don’t hold any power so their beliefs really have no impact on your life. Racism is not a problem in the US, classism is but that problem requires difficult discussions that you are unwilling to have. You need to learn to look beyond race and look to the individual’s path in life. Malia Obama is black, but she will have 1000x the privilege of a poor white kid growing up in the South in a single parent household with a mother addicted to pain pills. Race is superficial.

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