VIEW from AMERICA****
Chido Nwangwu celebrates the eventual swearing-in of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States of America, while expressing confidence in his ability to overcome the various challenges facing the country
It was the late, great civil rights icon, Martin Luther King Jr., who noted in the 1960s that “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”
I believe that Joseph Robinette Biden Jr., sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, is a good man. He’s a decent human being. who does not keep silent in the face of “the strident clamor of the bad people.”
Born November 20, 1942, elected and served in the U.S Senate 1973 to 2009.
Also, he has endured very traumatic events in his life. They neither broke nor embittered Joe!
He sought the presidency for almost 30 years — until he mathematically and factually defeated Donald Trump, in the November 2020 presidential election.
Remarkably and a vital turn for this man of history is the fact that he served as Vice President to the first African-American elected President, Barack Obama and he (Biden) picked a Black woman to be the first woman Vice President.
A few minutes before his oath, former Sen. Kamala Harris was sworn in as Vice President, making her the highest-ranking woman in the history of the United States, the first Black American and first person of South Asian descent to be elected to the position.
As far back as 1976, Biden refused to be separated from his Congressional Black Caucus colleagues when they traveled to Johannesburg, during apartheid South Africa. He confronted President Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of State, George Shultz, during a Senate hearing where he co-championed the fight against the racist, apartheid regime.
Also, he was particularly incensed by the continued imprisonment of the freedom fighter Nelson Mandela.
Biden spoke out strongly against the “bad people” oppressing Blacks and the “Colored peoples” of South Africa. I explore further the issues of Mandela, freedom for Blacks both in the African continent and the U.S in my February 2021 book, MLK, Mandela, Achebe and Obama: Power, Leadership & Identity.
Back to last Wednesday at his inauguration, Biden took to the practical lessons of history; the country’s vital interests to keeping and growing the blessings of American democracy. Especially, after his predecessor, Trump, a chaotic, divisive, petty, needful and giddy enabler of White supremacists instigated a mob of his own assembly to go “show strength” at the Congress.
The mob did; left a trail of destruction, desecration and death at the world’s most influential parliament/congress.
Biden was right when he told Americans, a few hours ago: “my fellow Americans, this is America’s day. This is democracy’s day, a day of history and hope, of renewal and resolve. Through a crucible for the ages, America has been tested anew. And America has risen to the challenge. Today we celebrate the triumph, not of a candidate, but of a cause, the cause of democracy. The people, the will of the people, has been heard, and the will of the people has been heeded. We’ve learned again that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile. And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.
So now, on this hallowed ground, where just a few days ago violence sought to shake the Capitol’s very foundation, we come together as one nation under God, indivisible, to carry out the peaceful transfer of power as we have for more than two centuries….
We’ll press forward with speed and urgency, for we have much to do in this winter of peril and significant possibilities. Much to repair, much to restore, much to heal, much to build, and much to gain. Few people in our nation’s history have been more challenged or found a time more challenging or difficult than the time we’re in now.”
He dug deeper into the wells of history to remind a traumatized country suffering 4000 (Four Thousand) daily deaths from COVID-19 to underscore the point that “I’ve just taken the sacred oath each of those patriots have taken. The oath first sworn by George Washington. But the American story depends not on any one of us, not on some of us, but on all of us, on we the people, who seek a more perfect union. This is a great nation. We are good people. And over the centuries, through storm and strife, in peace and in war, we’ve come so far, but we still have far to go.
Once in a century virus that silently stalks the country. It’s taken as many lives in one year as America lost in all of World War II. Millions of jobs have been lost, hundreds of thousands of businesses closed, a cry for racial justice some 400 years in the making moves us. The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer.”
When a leader who has a good grasp of history and believes in the worthiness of his or her compatriots to invent or navigate a purposeful, new day, the burden of the challenges become lighter and easier to overcome.
Despite all his best wishes and invocation of history, the tasks ahead of Biden are heavy, complicated and dangerous. Hence, I agree with him that: ”To overcome these challenges, to restore the soul and secure the future of America, requires so much more than words. It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy, unity. Unity…. Together we will write an American story of hope, not fear. Of unity not division, of light not darkness.” I believe a new day is opening for America; again.