At 78, Biden is the oldest person ever elected to the American presidency, but with his seasoned age at least comes the experience of spending 35 years as a U.S. senator and then eight years as vice president to President Barack Obama. And he’s going to need every single lesson he’s learned over the decades to move the country forward.
He admitted that the concept of unity and being able to overcome so much strife (reports have said that his speech today was the first-ever presidential inaugural address to call out “white supremacy” by name) may sound like “a foolish fantasy these days.”
“I know the forces that divide us are deep and they are real,” he continued. “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. The battle is perennial, and victory is never assured.”
But, Biden continued, though “victory is never assured, our better angels have always prevailed. Enough of us have come together to carry all of us forward, and we can do that now. History, faith and reason show the way, the way of unity. We can see each other not as adversaries, but as neighbors, treat each other with dignity and respect. We can join forces, stop the shouting, and lower the temperature. For without unity, there is no peace, only bitterness and fury.”