News/Op-Ed: Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Inaugurated as 46th President of the United States
by Joshua Hernandez, Editor-In-Chief
At 78 years old, President Joe Biden becomes the oldest man to ever rise to the presidency. After decades of public service as a Senator from Delaware and two terms as Vice President, President Biden finally ascends to the office he has long sought. In a historic election cycle, Vice President Kamala Harris was inaugurated as the first African American and female to hold the Vice Presidency.
The journey to the White House has not been an easy one for President Biden. Despite earning the trust and admiration of many nationally for his public service, President Biden has battled through adversity, personal hardships and loss throughout his political career. The story of President Joe Biden is one that can simply be described as tragic, yet also an emboldening symbol of the power of perseverance, hope and optimism.
In 1972, shortly before he would take his oath of office to become a United States Senator from Delaware, tragedy struck Biden: his wife, Neilia Hunter, and daughter, Naomi, only a year old, were killed in a tragic car accident that also injured his sons Beau and Hunter Biden.
Out of the depths of despair, he was not swayed away from public service. On January 5, 1973, Biden was sworn in as a Senator from Delaware inside Delaware Division of the Wilmington Medical Center, where his two sons were still recovering. After the accident, then Senator Biden took the Amtrak from Delaware to Washington, D.C. daily just to be able to see his sons on a daily basis. The travel took a total of 3 hours and 90 minutes to and from work.
In 1987, Senator Biden kicked off a longshot Presidential Campaign. While a respected and trusted Senator, his campaign failed to gain enough traction after being plagued by accusations of plagiarizing speeches. After just a few months of campaigning, Senator Biden withdrew from the race for the 1988 Democratic Nomination.
In February 1988, just a few months after his tumultuous, failed campaign, Senator Biden suffered two life threatening brain aneurysms, which presented yet another roadblock and long road to recovery.
Decades later, Senator Biden believed that he could once again be the Democratic nominee for the presidency in 2007. However, Biden, the experienced Senator, was no match for the two shining stars he was running against – Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and Senator Hillary Clinton of New York. Biden later dropped out of the race in January of 2008.
Eventually, to-be President Obama chose Senator Biden to be his running mate. The rest is history, with Biden serving as President Obama’s Vice President from 2009-2017.
In 2015, though, tragedy struck then-Vice President Biden once again – his son, Beau Biden, died from Glioblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer, after a long battle. The death of his son devastated Vice President Biden, eventually leading to him believing that his political career was over, a large reason why he did not run for the Democratic Nomination in 2016.
Still, President Biden persevered, choosing to seek the Democratic Nomination in 2020 after his family urged him to take on Incumbent President Donald Trump. Running on a reputation of being a strong Senator, Vice President and generally a decent person, Biden was seen as one of the most likely candidates to win the nomination.
However, in a field of strong, emerging candidates including Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, Biden stumbled out of the gate. Many believed the former-Vice President to be out of touch with the current generation and unable to pass the torch to the future of the Democratic party.
Thus, Biden took losses in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, before a huge endorsement by Rep. Jim Clyburn helped him win South Carolina, which saved his campaign. As history would play its course, South Carolina was the turning point the Biden Campaign needed, as it led to victories on Super Tuesday that essentially put his final opponent Bernie Sanders out of the race.
Biden became the Democratic Nominee, chose Kamala Harris as his running mate in August, and defeated Donald Trump in November. Life has come full circle for President Biden – and his story is one of perseverance, hope, optimism and resilience, as famed news anchor Dan Rather stated on twitter:
The rhetoric of unity that President Biden employed throughout his campaign was a highlight in his Inaugural Address, which became even more imperative after the Insurrection at Capitol Hill two weeks ago.
While President Biden made a litany of optimistic statements throughout his address, he ensured to lay out his visions of what a Biden America may look like.
“Today on this January day, my whole soul is in this. Bringing America together. Uniting our people. Uniting our nation. And I ask every American to join me in this cause. Uniting to fight the foes we face: anger, resentment, and hatred, extremism, lawlessness, violence, disease, joblessness and hopelessness. With unity, we can do great things, important things. We can right wrongs. We can put people to work in good jobs. We can teach our children in safe schools. We can overcome the deadly virus,” President Biden said.
After Democracy prevailed once again and a peaceful transfer of power was carried out, President Biden signed 17 executive orders, including a national mask mandate, rejoining the World Health Organization, ending the “Muslim ban,” rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, stopping the construction of the border wall and extending eviction and foreclosure moratoriums.