Pledging to heal and unite the nation, Joe Biden accepted the Democratic presidential nomination Thursday and heavily criticized President Trump, although he never mentioned him by name.
The speech capped a decades-long effort to win his party’s nomination following failed efforts in 1988 and 2008, although the latter attempt ended with him chosen by Barack Obama as the future president’s vice-presidential pick. On Thursday, it was Biden’s turn to accept a spot at the top of the Democratic ticket as he promised to help the country move forward on “four historic crises” – the pandemic, the economic crisis, the calls for racial justice and the “accelerating threats of climate change.”
Biden gave his speech to an empty Chase Center in Wilmington, Del.
“All elections are important, but we know in our bones this one is more consequential. As many have said, America’s at an inflection point – a time of real peril, but also of extraordinary possibilities,” Biden said. “We can choose a path of becoming angrier, less hopeful, more divided, a path of shadow and suspicion, or we can choose a different path and together take this chance to heal, to reform, to unite, a path of hope and light.
“This is a life-changing election,” Biden said. “This will determine what America is going to look like for a long, long time. Character is on the ballot, compassion is on the ballot, decency, science, democracy – they’re all on the ballot. Who we are as a nation, what we stand for, and most importantly, who we want to be, that’s all on the ballot. And the choice could not be more clear.”
Biden said Trump has failed in the pandemic response and led an “assault” on the Affordable Care Act, seeking to take away insurance “from more than 20 million people, including more than 15 million people on Medicaid.”
“The president takes no responsibility, refuses to lead, blames others, cozies up to dictators, and fans the flames of hate and division,” Biden said. “He’ll wake up every day believing that job is all about him, never about you. Is that the America you want for you, your family, your children? I see a different America, one that’s generous and strong, selfless, and humble. It’s an America we could rebuild together.”
The speech was void of references to hot-button social issues, as Biden sought to attract Republicans and independents. He mentioned “hope” and “light” at least 11 times each as he pointed to the future.
“While I’ll be a democratic candidate, I will be an American president. I’ll work hard for those who didn’t support me, as hard for them as I did for those who did vote for me. That’s the job of a president. To represent all of us, not just our base or our party,” Biden said. “... America isn’t just a collection of clashing interests, of red states or blue states. We’re so much bigger than that. We’re so much better than that.”
The nation, he said, should be “united in our love for each other.”
“For love is more powerful than hate, hope is more powerful than fear, and light is more powerful than dark,” he said. “This is our moment, this is our mission. May history be able to say that the end of this chapter of American darkness began here tonight as love and hope and light join in the battle for the soul of the nation. And this is a battle we will win and we’ll do it together.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Scott Olson/Staff
Video courtesy: CNN
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.