My fellow Americans, I, Joseph R. Biden, humbly stand with you as the 46th President of the United States.
I say “side with you” because I firmly believe that as president, my role is not above you, but to stand with each one of you as we work to create a more perfect union.
That is a goal that will never be entirely achievable. We are an imperfect union, made up of flaws and imperfections. I know it’s not common to say, but it’s true. And we still strive to be better than the generation before us. To learn from the mistakes of our mothers and fathers.
We may never completely erase the stains of our complicated history, but we can and should aim to be better than we were yesterday.
That is why I stand before you and declare that unlike our friends in Ukraine, who are currently fighting for independence, or the people of Russia, are under the control of an autocrat. , the state of our union is still controlled by the people who elect each and every one of us. American people.
As Russia has witnessed, strength does not only come from tanks and soldiers. Strength comes from dedication to purpose and commitment to something bigger than yourself. That’s what the Russian leader misunderstood when he invaded Ukraine and tried to inflict hell on a sovereign nation.
There are people in the world who believe that bullying signifies strength. They believe that aggression is brave and striving for peace is weak. They couldn’t be more wrong. Dropping a bomb is easy, sitting across from your enemy and negotiating a peaceful solution is much harder.
Vladimir Putin is a strong man whose repeated aggression only proves his fundamental weakness. According to him, his aim is to restore the former Soviet Union to “glory”. Let me be clear, the Soviet Union is a chapter in history that will never be reopened. Not because the US says so, or any other country says so. The Soviet Union died because people living under brutal and corrupt dictatorships said so.
It is no coincidence that after years of receiving praise from our former president, Putin feels not only encouraged but justified in his efforts to overthrow a democratically elected government in Ukraine.
The United States affects the rest of the world, for better and for worse. That includes Putin. He witnessed the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and Republican support for My Predecessor’s Big Lie that the 2020 election was beaten. steal. Putin has seen the flaw of American democracy.
While we cannot let lies be confused with the truth, we must work to get to a place where Americans can disagree, passionately, while living in peace. That is what a healthy democracy requires.
What will erode, and ultimately destroy, a democracy like ours are those in power who accept lies and cunningly exploit cultural divisions for political gain. We must be able to see the pitfalls of scammers and profiteers for what, they try to exploit the most vulnerable for economic gain. But most importantly, we must be clear and straightforward when talking about the people of a country and our values as a people.
At this very moment, across this great country, millions of Americans are struggling to keep a roof over their heads or food in the bellies for their children. Health care and higher education are out of reach for too many people, regardless of political affiliation, through no fault of their own, all while wealth continues to be concentrated in the pockets of a small number of people. personal.
While we praise American ingenuity and praise industry giants, we must also pay attention to ourselves. As President Abraham Lincoln famously said: “The legitimate object of government is to do to a community of people, whatever they ought to do, but cannot do, or cannot, very well, for themselves. them in separate and individual capacities. ”
This moment in our nation’s history presents an opportunity for Americans — Republicans, Democrats, and everyone else.
Instead of continuing to fight the same battles against ourselves, we can deploy our energies to help families in West Virginia, as well as families in Baltimore. We have the opportunity to enhance the community in Iowa, as well as Atlanta.
We cannot continue to see each other as just Democrats or Republicans, or define our most important issues through a rigid partisan lens. Instead, we must deal with the problems that plague our nation as much as America’s. When a child is hungry, it is not a Democrat or a Republican, it is proof that we have not done our duty properly. When a worker loses his or her job and cannot cover the cost of medication, they are not a Democrat or a Republican patient, they are an example of our broken health care system.
No one is naive enough to think that the malice between the two sides will heal overnight, but if the past four years have taught us anything, it’s that we can’t continue down this path and hope. waiting for any good things to happen. We the people, each one of us, have been given the responsibility to protect our democracy not only through our actions, but also through our words. Yes, words make sense. How we treat each other matters. What kind of country and what world do we leave to the next generation is important.
There are people who believe that a person’s worth is determined only by the amount of money they can accumulate. We should reject that belief. What defines a human being is what they are willing to do for a person who cannot do anything for them in return. Each of us can be that person, helping those in need just because it’s the right thing to do.
Our clan may be strong, but not invincible.
When leaders in Washington began to believe that they were more powerful than the citizens who voted for us, we were weaker because of it. When leaders in Washington began to believe that they were eyeing corporations and donors, not the Americans who gave us power, we were weaker because of it. And as leaders in Washington begin to believe that they alone represent the will of the people, instead of working to improve the lives of ordinary Americans, we are weaker for it.
Now is the time for America to boldly live up to its values. We must remind our fellow Americans that although our fire may have been extinguished, we will never allow our lighthouse to be extinguished. The world will notice and be inspired.
We are now and will always be the United States of America, the home of freedom, opportunity, and the pursuit of dreams. It is the State of our Union.
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