Mr. Joseph R. Biden hopes to unite America as 46th President


Libby Kaseta '22

The inauguration of President Mr. Joseph R. Biden and Vice President Ms. Kamala Harris took place January 20.

The 59th presidential inauguration that took place January 20, 2021 marks Mr. Joseph R. Biden’s entrance into the Oval Office as the 46th President of the United States.  Mr. Biden won the election for the presidency November 7, and his inauguration emphasized the need for national unity during a time of increasing political division. 

The theme of this year’s inauguration was “America United,” according to  When asked about the selection of this theme in an interview with The Associated Press, the Biden Inaugural Committee emphasized a sense of unity.

“At a time of unprecedented crisis and deep divisions, ‘America United’ reflects the beginning of a new national journey that restores the soul of America, brings the country together, and creates a path to a brighter future,” a spokesperson for the committee said, according to

The 46th President, Mr. Joseph R. Biden, and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, arrive at the White House the morning of January 20.  Courtesy of Mr. Alex Brandon

This theme of “America United” echoes louder than just a campaign slogan, as racial and political tensions in the United States continue to threaten national stability.  Members of the Biden Inaugural Committee believe it is meaningful that the administration selected this theme, as Mr. Biden has made it his primary focus to unite the country after a year tainted by a pandemic, social unrest, and an insurrection against American democracy.

In his inaugural speech, Mr. Biden expressed his faith in America’s ability to renew itself and grow from these challenging times.

“This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day,” Mr. Biden said.  “A day of history and hope, of renewal and resolve.  Through a crucible for the ages, America has been tested anew.  America has risen to the challenge.”

In his first 100 days in office, Mr. Biden hopes to stem the COVID-19 tide, recover the economy, push world leaders to tackle climate change with a more aggressive approach, and repeal tax cuts, according to  He has specific plans to issue an 100-day mask challenge, ask Congress to “close” the loopholes on the gun purchasing background checks, offer more protection for women, and push the Equality Act for further Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ+) rights.

The Biden administration already made history after Mr. Biden named California senator Ms. Kamala Harris as his running mate in August of 2020.  Their victory secured Ms. Harris’s position as the first South Asian-American and African-American woman to ever hold office as Vice President of the United States. 

The 2020 presidential election was different from previous elections due to the widespread use of mail-in and absentee voting as a result of COVID-19 concerns.  The mail-in votes took a longer time to count than those from in-person voting, and some individual states did not complete the vote count until four days after Election Day.  The state of Pennsylvania completed its vote count November 7, giving 20 electoral college votes to Mr. Biden and placing him at the forefront of the race with a total of 306 votes, according to

The election also marked a historic increase in voting numbers, with 161 million Americans casting their ballot as opposed to only 138 million in 2016, according to The Wall Street Journal.

In his speech during the inauguration, Mr. Biden acknowledged the importance of the unification of the country in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We must set aside politics and finally face this pandemic as one nation, one nation,” Mr. Biden said.  “And I promise you this.  As the Bible says, ‘Weep, ye may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.’  We will get through this together.”

To adhere to safety protocols, the 2020 presidential inauguration only had about 1,000 attendees, a drastic decrease from the typical 200,000 attendees.  However, each member of Congress and a guest were still able to attend.  Among the performers at the inauguration was the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, Miss Amanda Gorman.  At 22 years old, Miss Gorman is the first ever National Youth Poet Laureate and a graduate of Harvard University’s class of 2020.  In an interview, Miss Gorman shared how she suffered from a speech impediment as a child, which was one of the factors that drew her to poetry, according to

Miss Gorman meticulously crafted a poem, entitled “The Hill We Climb,” with the addition of a few lines every day, until the raid of the United States Capitol Building January 6.  She finished the poem that day, after staying awake to add verses about the event that took place earlier, according to The New York Times.  While reciting the poem during the inauguration, Miss Gorman reiterated Mr. Biden’s focus on unification.

Ms. Kamala Harris, the first African-American, South Asian-American, and woman to hold the position of Vice President, takes the oath of office. Courtesy of Mr. Saul Loeb

“And yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect,” Miss Gorman said.  “We are striving to forge our union with purpose.  To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters, and conditions of man.  And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.  We close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside.”

As the new Commander-in-Chief took the Oath of Office, the ceremony was accessible for viewing on a variety of digital platforms.  A virtual “parade” displayed different communities around the United States.  The University of Delaware and Howard University sent drum lines to Washington, D.C. to perform live for the duration of the parade.

The parade also featured “diverse, dynamic performances in communities in all 56 states and territories [to] celebrate America’s heroes, and highlight the diversity, heritage, and resilience of the country,” according to  

Singer Ms. Jennifer Lopez sang a rendition of “America the Beautiful” and “This Land is Your Land” during the inauguration.  Ms. Stefani Germanotta, professionally known as Lady Gaga, sang the National Anthem.  She sang at the Capitol the morning of the inauguration prior to Ms. Lopez’s performance during the ceremony.

Senior Izzy DeVita, Head of Campus Ministry, reflected on her hopes for the next four years under Mr. Biden’s leadership.

“Two things I am very passionate about are climate change and racial equality,” Izzy said.  “President Trump’s many environmental rollbacks during his presidency were immensely distressing to me as a young woman who is going to live to see the damage and havoc inflicted on the planet by climate change if action is not taken.  As such, I hope for Mr. Biden to create a comprehensive plan to combat global warming and to rejoin the Paris climate accord, which President Trump withdrew from. Even more, I hope to see Mr. Biden take action against the systemic racism in our country, particularly as it manifests itself in police brutality and our criminal justice system.”

Featured Image by Libby Kaseta ’22