Editorial: Biden talks of what's worth battling for, not fighting against

Posted January 21, 2021 5:00 a.m. EST
Updated January 21, 2021 2:01 p.m. EST

CBC Editorial: Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021; Editorial #8628
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company.

Four years ago, Americans heard from a new president about what he was against; what the nation needed to fear and reject.

On Wednesday, a new president talked about what he was for, what the nation needed to embrace and what people needed to fight to support.

Four years ago, Donald Trump told the nation what he’d be against:

  • The Washington establishment, deepstate.
  • Engagement with international organizations and foreign aid.
  • Radical Islamic terrorism.
  • Gangs, public schools that “deprived (students) of all knowledge” and drug abuse.

He promised to “free the earth from the miseries of disease and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow.”

Trump’s “America first” was about fear and isolation.

The new president, Joe Biden offered an inaugural address about what America was for:

  • DEMOCRACY – “The will of the people has been heard and the will of the people and the will of the people has been heeded.”
  • UNITY – “Bringing America together. Uniting our people. And uniting our nation.”
  • RESPECT -- “Show respect to one another. Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war.
  • TRUTH -- “Reject a culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured. … There is truth and there are lies. Lies told for power and for profit.”
  • ENGAGEMENT – “We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again. … We will lead not merely by the example of our power but by the power of our example.”

Instead of looking to confront and bully those who opposed him in the election, Biden reached out and promised respect for those who disagree and to seek consensus.

“To those who did not support us, let me say this: Hear me out as we move forward. Take a measure of me and my heart. If you still disagree, so be it. That’s democracy,” he said.

“Disagreement must not lead to disunion,” he continued. “I pledge you this. I will be president for all Americans. I will fight as hard for those of you who did not support me as for those who did.”

Biden aptly noted the nation seems to be engaged in an “uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal.” The resolution was in opening “our souls instead of hardening our hearts.”

Time and history will tell if Biden’s speech was one of soaring oratory.

But to those listening to the speech Wednesday around the nation and the world, they heard a heart-felt, earnest commitment to the job of leading the nation and engaging in the world to uplift and bring people together.

“Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this: Bringing America together,” Biden said. “I ask every American to join me in this cause. Uniting to fight the common foes we face: Anger, resentment, hatred. Extremism, lawlessness, violence. Disease, joblessness, hopelessness.”

NOTE: This editorial has been updated to include text that had been inadvertently omitted.

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