In his first act as president before he will reportedly set off to sign a “flurry” of executive orders, Biden addressed the American people in a surprisingly moving speech in which he declared: “My whole soul is in this.”
A fairly lengthy affair, it covered a lot of crucial ground. Biden discussed everything from America’s desire to start “repairing allegiances” created by divides over the past four years, to wanting to restore democracy across the country.
Biden opened in assuring his audience of millions that he was aware of the difficulties ahead.
“My whole soul is in it today, on this January day. My whole soul is in this. Bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation…Uniting to fight the foes we face: extremism, lawlessness, violence, diseases, joblessness, and hopelessness."
“Together we will 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 us…Democracy and hope, truth and justice, did not die on our watch but thrive.”
“Here we stand just days after a mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work of our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground. It did not happen. It will never happen. Not today, not tomorrow. Not ever."
He also addressed one of America’s greatest problems facing the prospect of a thriving democracy – misinformation.
“Recent weeks and months have taught us a painful lesson. There is truth and there are lies. Lies told for power and profit. Each of us has a duty and a responsibility as citizens, as Americans, especially as leaders… to defend the truth and defeat the lies."
He also commended his VP in waiting, Kamala Harris, for what she represents in progressive US politics.
“Here we stand looking out in the great mall where Dr. King spoke of his dream. Here we stand, where 108 years ago, at another inaugural, thousands of protesters tried to block brave women marching for the right to vote. And today we marked the swearing in of the first woman in American history elected to national office: Vice President Kamala Harris. Don’t tell me things can’t change.”
The speech was progressively jubilant as it went on, where Biden looked to the future of America’s relationship with the rest of the world.
“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.”
“We have learned again that democracy is precious", he said. “Democracy is fragile. And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.”
Biden also held a moment of silence for the 400,000 Americans who have died during the pandemic.
Biden observes a moment of silence for the 400,000 Americans who have died during the pandemic https://t.co/WoUBQEhpRJ