PRESIDENCY Biden’s message all about ‘respect’
The OBSERVER's View
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy used his inaugural address as a time to ask Americans to look to the greater good.
“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country,” Kennedy said in one of the most often quoted lines from any president’s inaugural address.
Will President Joe Biden’s similar appeal Wednesday be so fondly remembered decades from now?
Only time will tell. No one knows how the Biden presidency will unfold over the next four years. But Biden’s inaugural address struck the right note for a nation whose residents need to find ways to come together for self-governance rather than spend all of their time at each other’s throats.
“And so today, at this time and in this place, let us start afresh.
All of us.
Let us listen to one another. Hear one another. See one another. Show respect to one another.
Politics need not be a raging fire destroying everything in its path. Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war.
And, we must reject a culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured.
My fellow Americans, we have to be different than this. America has to be better than this. And, I believe America is better than this. …
I understand that many Americans view the future with some fear and trepidation. I understand they worry about their jobs, about taking care of their families, about what comes next.
I get it.
But the answer is not to turn inward, to retreat into competing factions, distrusting those who don’t look like you do, or worship the way you do, or don’t get their news from the same sources you do.
We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal.
We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts. If we show a little tolerance and humility. If we’re willing to stand in the other person’s shoes just for a moment.
Because here is the thing about life: There is no accounting for what fate will deal you. There are some days when we need a hand. There are other days when we’re called on to lend one.
That is how we must be with one another. And, if we are this way, our country will be stronger, more prosperous, more ready for the future. My fellow Americans, in the work ahead of us, we will need each other.”
How will the history books remember Biden’s inaugural address? No one knows. In truth, only time will tell if Biden and his administration live up to such lofty speech. For one day, however, Biden struck a note Americans of all political affiliations needed to hear.
Biden’s administration, and all of us, need to live up to those ideals.