President Joe Biden is Sworn In. Now, the Real Work Begins.

By Cathalijne Adams
President Joe Biden is sworn in as America’s 46th president on Jan. 20 in the midst of a raging pandemic and shattered economy. | Photo courtesy of Joe Biden’s YouTube account

Biden calls for unity as country faces unprecedented challenges.

Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States Wednesday, declaring “This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day, a day of history and hope, of renewal and resolve through a crucible for the ages.”

As America grapples with extraordinary crises, including a pandemic that has ravaged the entire country and left the economy in shambles, Biden called for unity.

In the wake of the Jan. 6 deadly insurrection on the Capitol, the newly sworn-in president asked Americans to join together 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.”

Though there is no lack of challenges ahead of the Biden-Harris team, with Democratic control of the Senate, House and White House, there’s hope that their legislative efforts will see eased passage. Among Biden’s major initiatives in his first year of office will be actualizing his Build Back Better plan, which aims for the investment of more than $2 trillion in infrastructure, clean energy and American manufacturing to sponsor the growth of “at least 5 million new jobs in manufacturing and innovation.”

“We’ll press forward with speed and urgency for we have much to do in this winter of peril and significant possibilities,” Biden said in his inaugural address. “Much to repair, much to restore, much to heal, much to build, and much to gain.”

In reflecting on today’s events, Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul emphasized the importance of quick action to bring Biden’s ambitious infrastructure plan to fruition and usher America’s long-term economic recovery, with U.S. factories still down 543,000 jobs since February 2020.  

Paul said:

“Congratulations to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. We welcome the 46th president’s call for unity and purpose and look forward to working with the new administration to advance the Build Back Better plan.

The president’s economic plan will create well-paying jobs in every state and secure a solid foundation for future growth and sustainability. We agree with the president that Americans can meet tomorrow’s challenges by working together today.”

Without the bold investment that Biden has proposed, the United States risks continuing the K-shaped recovery that has made the divide between the wealthy and working class all the more dire in recent months, as Treasury secretary Janet Yellen cautioned lawmakers on Tuesday.

But, as Paul noted in a RealClearPolitics opinion earlier this week, successful execution of the Build Back Better plan depends on the institution of policies, namely Buy America domestic preferences, that will ensure that Washington’s investment truly benefits American workers.  

Though today’s inauguration took place during a time of deep distress for the nation, it also abounded with celebration and featured striking performances from some of America’s greatest entertainers and ceremonial gifts.

Following the swearing-in ceremonies at the Capitol, Sen. Amy Klobuchar presented President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris crystal vases handcrafted in Bristol, Pa., by Lenox Corporation, in keeping with a tradition that began with George H. W. Bush’s inauguration in 1989.

Dr. Jill Biden’s outfit also paid homage to America’s manufacturers and makers. Her blue tweed coat and dress was envisioned by Colorado-born designer Alexandra O’Neill of American womenswear luxury label Markarian, which produces all of its clothing in the New City Garment Center and has become a favorite of celebrities like Kate Hudson and Kerry Washington.

Today’s festivities were an auspicious start to the Biden-Harris administration, but there is much work ahead. We can only hope that the optimism that so marked today bears out, and our nation indeed sees the “American story of hope, not fear. Of unity, not division. Of light, not darkness. A story of decency and dignity. Love and healing. Greatness and goodness,” that Biden divined in his inaugural remarks.