Washington (US): In his first speech as US President, Joseph R Biden said that this was America’s day, democracy’s day, and the will of the people has been heard.
Addressing the crowd after his swearing-in, Biden said: “This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day. The day of history and hope, of renewal and resolve. Through a crucible through the ages, America has been tested anew and America has risen to the challenge.”
He said the will of the people has been heard.
“We’ve learned again that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile. And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed,” he said.
Despite the violence that shook the Capitol earlier this month, Biden said that all people have come together, indivisible, to carry out a peaceful transfer of power, as it has been for over two centuries.
He also thanked his predecessors from both Republican and Democratic parties during his speech.
“I thank my predecessors of both parties for their presence here today. I thank them from the bottom of my heart… And I know the resilience of our Constitution and the strength, the strength of our nation, as does President Carter, who I spoke with last night, who cannot be with us today, but whom we salute for his lifetime in service,” Biden said.
“We can do great things, important things. We can right wrongs, we can put people in good jobs, we can teach our children in great schools, we can overcome the deadly virus, we can reward work and rebuild the middle class and make healthcare secure for all. We can deliver racial justice and we can make America, once again, the leading force for good in the world.”
He also called on all the American people to overcome the extraordinary challenges that face the country.
“To overcome these challenges, to restore the soul and secure the future of America requires so much more than words and requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy, unity,” Biden said.
However, the new president also spoke of ‘forces that divide us’, and said that ‘unity has always won out’.
“I know 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 are all created equal, and the harsh ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear, demonization have long torn us apart,” he mentioned.
Biden, who is known around the world for his stint as the vice president during the Obama administration, became the oldest person ever sworn in as president of the country at 78.
His election comes at a time when the nation is struggling under the human and economic toll of a pandemic that has killed more than 380,000 Americans. Racial tensions, exacerbated by the departing president to whom they were weapons in his arsenal of disunion, remain to be addressed and healed.