Biden speaks of unity amidst deep divisions in the country

President Joe Biden speaks during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday. Associated Press.

By Mallory Harris | Staff Writer

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States of America. Along with Kamala Harris becoming the first female vice president and Biden being the oldest president when swearing-in, these two have set out to make history.

As the wait for the 2020 presidential election results lasted longer than election years past, it was the state of Georgia that won the election for Biden. As he steps into this new role, Biden instilled a theme of unity throughout his inaugural address though he did not ignore the deep divisions that run through the country as he referenced past tragedies such as 9/11, both world wars, the Great Depression and the Civil War.
“I know the forces that divide us are deep and they are real, but I also know they are not new,” Biden said. “Here we stand looking out in the great mall where Dr. King spoke of his dream. … 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.”

Fort Worth sophomore Hannah Harvey said seeing how Biden brought awareness to the racial inequality around the nation, as well as the historical significance surrounding the day was refreshing to see. To Harvey, Biden’s words weren’t just a unified speech, but a message of hope.

“No politician should be idolized or worshiped, and I plan on listening to President Biden’s words this term while also looking for evidence in his actions,” Harvey said. “It was very promising to hear a unifying message and a promise to the American people that we can do better, and we will.”

Dr. Patrick Flavin, Associate Professor of Political Science in Baylor’s political science department said prior to the speech that a message of unity is to be expected when transferring the power between presidents. Former president Donald Trump did not attend the inauguration. The idea of having the previous president attend to signify the forward movement in administration holds meaning, Flavin said.

While this is an important day as a nation, Flavin also mentioned how this ceremony shouldn’t be passed up by students and that they should take notice.
“It’s no small thing that we pass power peacefully in a country and that’s how we decide our political differences,” Flavin said. “So I hope Baylor students watch it and make a practice to do it every four years.”

To highlight standing together as a unified nation, Biden’s first act as president was to join in on a moment of silent prayer to remember those who we lost to the pandemic. Prior to this, Biden referenced Saint Augustine to list the “objects we as Americans love,” ending with truth. This led to Biden speaking to the American people about how lies and living with fear can impact the unity he’s striving towards.
Calling upon Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, Biden said, “On this January day, my whole soul is in this: Bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation. And I ask every American to join me in this cause.”