ICYMI – Biden and Harris offer comfort and joy in first speeches

I did sigh a bit when it was announced that Kamala Harris and Joe Biden would be speaking at 8pm local time that night. After four days of sitting up till the wee hours waiting for that count to move off 253, I could have done with an early night.

There was no way I was going to miss it though. Especially as I’d sat up on Thursday to listen to Trump’s outburst. I had planned to go to bed at 11pm but at 10:50, he outgoing President (how lovely it is to write that) announced a press conference at 11:30.

I knew I’d regret if if I missed it almost as much as I’d regret it if I watched it. It was worth it for the reaction of the media. I don’t think we’ve talked about how huge a thing it was for MSNBC to actually pull away from him, saying that they weren’t going to broadcast his speech because what he was saying was false. CNN’s banners basically saying that he was alleging electoral fraud without evidence were a delight to see.

I knew that the Biden and Harris speeches would be much more edifying. Friday night’s hilarious episode of Gogglebox helped me stay awake and I poured myself a weird cocktail of maraschino cherry liqueur and amaretto. It’s kind of like a cherry bakewell… Strangely, I was so preoccupied that I didn’t even find out the Strictly spoiler.

Harris and Biden did not disappoint.  Kamala Harris’s speech which I mostly sobbed my way through brought so much joy. Her touching reference to Joe Biden’s son Beau, a friend of hers who died in 2015 was particularly poignant, as was the way she talked about the history she was making and how it should encourage girls to ‘dream with conviction and lead with ambition.

But while I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last, because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities. And to the children of our country, regardless of your gender, our country has sent you a clear message:

Dream with ambition, lead with conviction, and see yourselves in a way that others may not simply because they’ve never seen it before. But know that we will applaud you every step of the way.

Watch here:

Read the whole text here.

Joe Biden was much more inspiring than I expected, reaching out to all of America, including those who supported Donald Trump. We haven’t seen any of that these past four years. He has a good idea of what he wants to do at this challenging point in history:

Folks, America has always been shaped by inflection points, by moments in time where we’ve made hard decisions about who we are and what we want to be.

Lincoln in 1860, coming to save the union. FDR in 1932, promising a beleaguered country a New Deal. JFK in 1960, pledging a new frontier. And 12 years ago, when Barack Obama made history, he told us “Yes, we can.”

Well folks, we stand again at an inflection point. We have an opportunity to defeat despair, to build a nation of prosperity and purpose. We can do it. I know we can.

I’ve long talked about the battle for the soul of America. We must restore the soul of America. Our nation is shaped by the constant battle between our better angels and our darkest impulses. And what presidents say in this battle matters. It’s time for our better angels to prevail.

Tonight, the whole world is watching America. And I believe at our best, America is a beacon for the globe. We will not lead … we will lead not only by the example of our power but by the power of our example.

I’ve always believed — many of you’ve heard me say it — I’ve always believed we can define America in one word: Possibilities.

That in America everyone should be given the opportunity to go as far as their dreams and God-given ability will take them.You see, I believe in the possibilities of this country.

Watch the whole thing here.

These may be lovely words, but we shouldn’t be under any illusion about what it is going to take to get this very divided nation back together and get through the tragedy of Covid and its consequent economic shock wave. I will be surprised if Mitch McConnell will show the sort of bipartisan leadership that will be necessary to weather the crisis.

There is a long way to go between now and 20th January. No doubt there will be more drama from the outgoing President and potentially obstructive behaviour from Senate Republicans over confirming Biden’s Cabinet. But at least we have a team who will be trying to find solutions, not create problems.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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2 Comments

  • Lorenzo Cherin 8th Nov '20 - 11:27pm

    Fine attentive reporting on here caron.

    Like your good self my wife and I stayed up to watch. It was, like you, difficult ie, too many nights up!

    Easy to watch these speeches. Joyful. Positive. Inspirational. Both of these , a terrific duo.

    Biden made a good choice. As did the Us. the President is a truly good man. Nobody can doubt it who knows him or of him. the new vp is less known by many over here, but shall be a hit!

  • Christopher Wheatley 9th Nov '20 - 11:58am

    After watching Joe Biden & Kamala Harris we all sigh a sense of relief yet real hope for a better future..
    The challenge now for our Liberal Democrats is we and our country needs a progressive Liberal Agenda..The standard has been set and can we achieve this? You bet we can!!

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