This week, Joe Biden took the oath of office and became the 46th President of the United States. Though it was tested, the peaceful transition of power that our nation has held so dear for nearly two and a half centuries has once again taken place. I do not write today to dismiss President Trump’s accomplishments, or to cast aside his policies. I do not come to gloat on the victory or to stand over those that chose him with their vote. Had it not been for a once in a century pandemic, it is quite possible that Mr. Trump would be sworn in today for a second term. The pre-pandemic economy was truly historic. His administration deserves accolades for Operation Warp Speed and the corresponding vaccine that promises to save hundreds of thousands of lives world wide. He received the second most votes of any presidential candidate in the history of our nation. As I said, I do not wish to take anything away from President Trump. I do not write today to talk about the wall that he built, but the walls that we have built.
Our nation today is truly a divided one. Perhaps more so than any time since the Civil War. We have divided ourselves into two camps. Red vs Blue, Conservatives vs Liberals, Republicans vs Democrats. We have separated ourselves from those that do not share our own views. We have lost friends and perhaps even gone so far as to cut family members out of our lives over the fights and arguments of the last four years. We have all but given up on the idea of starting with the places that we agree. Choosing instead to not only highlight our differences, but to question the motives of those with whom we disagree. We have built walls that seem insurmountable and impenetrable between ourselves. We have come to the incorrect conclusion that our side is always right and the other side must always be wrong. I am here today to tell you that these walls are not indestructible.
On June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan marked the end of the Cold War in a Berlin speech in which he said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Today, I call upon all of us to end the war which we have waged upon each other. Let us pledge today to begin where we agree and build from there. Let us soften our words and our hearts. Let us reach across the isle to hold the hand of our fellow Americans. After all, we are not enemies, or even adversaries. We share a common goal. A more perfect union, a land of opportunity and promise, a time of peace and unity. The time is now to show the world that our country is more than just impossible ideals. So now we must ask ourselves, what will it take.
It will take both sides coming together with open hands and hearts. It will take both sides standing up to the fringe elements of both parties. It will take compromise, it will take teamwork. It will take bravery, and it will require grace. We must show tolerance and understanding. We must pick those up that need our help. We must show our children and grandchildren that we can work together toward a common goal, and that what makes us the same far outweighs what makes us different. We must make them believe that they can be anything that they want to be, and we must make it so. We must refuse to attach the labels of politicization. We must avoid posting that which corrodes and instead post that which holds us together. We must sow the seeds of truth and destroy the weeds of doubt in each others’ motivations.
I will start today. I will reach out to those with which I have severed ties. I will ask for forgiveness and I will show grace. I will refuse to focus on that which seeks to divide us. I will lift up those in need. I pledge allegiance to the republic, one nation under God, indivisible, and vow to seek liberty and justice for all. Will you join me? Friends, Let us tear down these walls!