US elections: president-elect Joe Biden calls for unity in victory speech
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US elections: president-elect Joe Biden calls for unity in victory speech

Credit: Belga

Former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris addressed the nation on Saturday night (around 2:30 AM Belgian time) for the first time as president-elect after American media declared him as the winner of the election.

Biden was declared as the winner of the election after most media reported him as having won the state of Pennsylvania, bringing him from 253 to 273 electoral college votes, passing the brink of the 270 electoral college votes to secure the presidency.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris took the stage first, starting by referring to Congressman John Lewis, who, “before his passing, wrote ‘democracy is not a state, it is an act.”

That means willing to fight for it, she clarified. “We, the people, have the power to build a better future,” she told the crowd.

“Thank you for turning out in record numbers to make your voices heard,” she told the American people, having also thanked those involved in the campaign and the electoral process.

“You chose hope and unity, decency, science, and yes, truth,” Harris said. “You chose Joe Biden as the next president of the United States of America,” she continued, calling him a healer and “man with a big heart.”

Harris took a moment to remember her late mother and acknowledged “all the women who have worked to secure and protect the right to vote for over a century.”

That started “100 years ago with the 19th amendment, 55 years ago with the voting rights act and now in 2020 with a new generation of women in our country who cast their ballots and continued the fight for their fundamental right to vote and be heard.”

“While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last,” she said to loud applause.

“We have elected a president who represents the best in us. A leader the world will respect and our children will look up to. A commander in chief who will respect our troops and keep our country safe and a president for all Americans,” she said, introducing Biden who then took the stage.

“Folks, the people of this nation have spoken,” Biden started. “They’ve delivered us a clear victory. A convincing victory. A victory for ‘We, the people’.”

“I’m humbled by the trust and confidence you’ve placed in me,” he said, pledging to be “a president who seeks not to divide but unify. Who doesn’t see red states and blue states, only sees the United States.”

Biden promised to work to “restore the soul of America, rebuild the backbone of America, the middle class” and “make America respected again around the world.”

He then took the time to thank his wife and children and congratulating Kamala Harris, the first African-American, Asian-American woman to take the office of vice-president. “Don’t tell me it’s not possible in the United States. It’s long overdue, and we’re reminded tonight of those who fought so hard for so many years to make this happen.”

“Once again, America has bent the arc of the moral universe more towards justice,” Biden said. Addressing Harris and her husband Douglas Emhoff, he said “like it or not – you’re family. You’ve become an honorary Biden, there’s no way out.”

He thanked volunteers, poll workers and local elected officials and all those who supported his campaign. He then addressed those who had voted for Trump, understanding their frustration, though adding that “it’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric” and that “we have to stop seeing our opponents as our enemies.”

“This is the time to heal in America,” he said.

“Our work begins with getting Covid under control,” Biden said, announcing that he would name a group of experts as transition advisors on Monday. “I will spare no effort, none, or any commitment to turn around this pandemic.”

Biden will also focus on prosperity, health care, racial justice, rooting out systemic racism and saving the climate. Furthermore, he pledged to “restore decency, defend democracy, and give everybody in this country a fair shot.”

“Folks, I’m a proud Democrat, but I will govern as an American president,” Biden said, promising to work as hard for those who didn’t vote for him as for those who did.

“We will lead not only by the example of our power but by the power of our example,” he said.

While incumbent President Donald Trump has said that “this election is far from over,” as it stands, Biden is set to take oath on 20 January 2021.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times

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