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Hope & optimism amid pandemic, uniting America at the core of Biden’s inaugural speech, says expert

Hope & optimism amid pandemic, 
uniting America at the core of Biden’s inaugural speech, says expert

Ailyn Agonia
DOHA
As the US continues to combat COVID-19 and in the wake of the siege at the US Capitol last week, American political scientist and writer Dr Lara Brown has reiterated the importance and relevance of the tone of the inaugural speech to be delivered by US President-elect Joe Biden on January 20.
Biden, who is set to officially take his place as the 46th US President alongside Kamala Harris as Vice-President in a few days, has announced recently that the theme of his speech on the Inauguration Day will be “American United”. Biden’s team, in a press release, cited that the speech “reflects the beginning of a new national journey that restores the soul of America, brings the country together, and creates a path to a brighter future.”
Addressing the foreign journalists during the Washington Foreign Press Center briefing on presidential inauguration held on Tuesday, Brown pointed out that though presidential transition is a time for national healing, the inaugural speech is really seen as the moment when the president can reach out to those Americans who did not essentially support that president in the election.
“I think that we can expect in tone there will be a certain amount of sort of soberness and solemnity. We’ve had more than 370,000 Americans die as a result of the coronavirus in just the last year, and we are facing some of the most difficult days when it comes to combating this virus. So I think there is a desire to both sort of acknowledge the difficulty that we are in, but also offer a vision of hope and optimism about the future that this sort of coronavirus and economic crisis will be confronted, and that it will pass, and that we will have a brighter future,” said Brown.
“Obviously, in the wake of the siege on the Capitol that we saw last week and kind of this mob looking to overturn or delay the constitutional counting of the electoral ballots, I think there is also a need – and I imagine that we will see this in the president-elect’s speech – to bring together partisans. And he himself has said that he hopes to be a president for those who did not vote for him as well as those who did,” the expert added.
Sharing some of the released details on the inauguration including the arrival of Biden to Washington DC via Amtrak, Brown stressed how the inauguration will be different without the presence of a large crowd and cancellation of traditional activities such as the balls due to the pandemic as well as the observance of strict security.
On the attack at the Capitol Hill and concerns of violence that might happen during the Inauguration, Brown said, “As a political scientist who studied American presidential elections since 1796 and our sort of historical presidency since its beginnings with George Washington, I was horrified and dismayed. The idea that Americans would believe the disinformation and conspiracy theories, which have been proven to be wrong over and over, was really quite terrifying. We cannot have a democracy without truth, and truth is the fundamental basis of an informed citizenry.”
She also expressed deep concern in seeing the Confederate battle flag inside the US Capitol carried by one of the rioters. Brown remarked, “The flag of the Confederacy was about a rejection of the US. It was about a rejection of the Constitution of our democratic process and it was about the states seceding and saying we don’t want to be part of this union. So to symbolically see the flag of the Confederacy, which was a group of states that wanted to uphold slavery, be strung through the Capitol on the backs of protesters who didn’t believe the election results was about as horrifying as I could imagine.”
She pointed out that there is a lot of work that America has to do to kind of refashion itself on the world stage as being the oldest and greatest democracy that exists.

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