It ends up being pretty simple. His message: Tell the truth, be the good people he says we are. Treat each other with dignity and respect. He believes we can join forces, stop shouting and lower the temperature. He leveled with us all when he said "my whole soul is in this" in bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation and he asked every American to join in the cause.
His whole soul is into uniting our nation. It is like he is asking us to help, to join a cause bigger than our opinions so we can face some of the feelings and the real life issues that we may be experiencing like: anger, resentment, hatred, extremism, lawlessness, violence, disease, joblessness and hopelessness. He goes on to imagine that "with unity, we can do great things, important things. We can right wrongs."
It was almost like the "I have a Dream Speech" given by Martin Luther King, Jr., but it was Joe Biden talking straight about how we can finally end up dealing with the 400 year old cry for racial justice that we no longer have to defer. We might even listen to our planet for her own survival.
He sees unity as the path forward to get us through our historic challenges and the crisis of the virus, seeing each other as neighbors not as adversaries. He proposes we begin by listening to one another, seeing each other again and seeing our common hopes for opportunity, security, liberty, honor and yes - truth.
Mr. Biden asks that we all open our souls instead of hardening our hearts, show tolerance and humility and end this uncivil war dividing us. We have lived through one Civil War and other great struggles through the history of this country and as Lincoln reminded us our better angels have always prevailed.
We have a dark winter ahead with the pandemic still raging, we are going to need each other. Biden asks that we face this together as One Nation and make it the American Story that will be told by the generations that follow us, of how we pulled together and answered the call of history, did our duty and healed a broken land.
The platform at the Capitol never became full. The mall in front of the capitol held thousands of flags waving in the wind instead of the normal supporters, while thousands of members of the military were brought to ensure the peaceful transfer of power would happen without a hitch. We were not there, clapping for the talented performers singing the songs of America, we were not there to stand in amazement for Amanda Gorman's poem, "The Hill We Climb" written for the day by the young poet laureate or to stand for the new president and vice president.
She and the president, the new, but oldest president ever and the youngest poet, these two speakers caught our breath. She hit us aside the head when she said, "Where can we find light in this never-ending shade?" Did she notice how the sun came out when President Biden spoke, just as the sun had broke free when Abraham Lincoln stood in that same space for this 2nd Inaugural speech, after the Civil War was waning. She got us thinking about how quiet isn't always peace and what just is Isn't always justice. She told us "a nation that isn't broken but simply unfinished" - that "we aren't striving to form a union that is perfect, We are striving to forge a union with purpose."
Amanda agreed with the president that we must put our differences aside, laying down our arms "so we can reach out our arms to one another." The efforts must be made and can be.
"If we merge mercy with might and might with right,
Then love becomes our legacy
And change our children's birthright.
So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left."
This old white man and the young black poet made music, gave hope and began the first day of a new American Story.
I think we can try to be brave enough to take his challenge. We can level with each other, show our fellow humans dignity and get to doing our part in what will be the story we want told of how we healed our nation, each one of us, just like Joe Biden thought we would.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim