Biden vows to tackle the disease of disunity (USA Today editorial)

News Journal: Biden’s inaugural address is characterized as a “tough-love speech” in which he “spoke harshly of how the country is riddled with problems and in desperate need of a cure.” The cure that he advocated was “a return to the norms trampled by his predecessor – truth, decency, respect."

Masked participants were a constant reminder of the COVID pandemic (400K+ deaths so far). The thousands of troops on hand were a reminder of the deadly Capitol rioting just two weeks earlier. Donald Trump had “slunk from the city . . . ditching a more than 150-year tradition of attending a successor’s inauguration.” The National Mall wasn’t thronged with spectators due to “concerns for both contagion and insurrection”

The speech “was less about specific policy prescriptions” than “the clear-eyed pragmatism of a doctor diagnosing treatment” for his patient’s condition. It was time to end the “uncivil war,” lest the country continue to suffer from escalating bitterness, outrage and the potential for chaos. “Politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire, destroying everything in its path.”

Biden’s message “stood in stark contrast to remarks Trump delivered four years earlier when he strangely spoke about “American carnage” that largely existed within his own mind. And come to think of it, American carnage – “much of it fomented by the 45th president himself” – is basically what Biden had inherited.

Trump “made promises he couldn’t, or wouldn’t, keep.” In contrast, Biden challenged Americans to strive for unity – as he and his administration concentrated on “delivering results that improve people’s lives.” To this end, the full power of the federal government would be harnessed to attack the pandemic and build back the economy.

“My whole soul is in this,” the president said, words that "might be just the balm a shaken nation needs" and could establish Biden as "the right man for the moment."
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