Over the last five decades, Joe Biden endured multiple personal tragedies and saw his political obituary written over and over again—yet always found a way to pick up the pieces and move forward.
On Wednesday, he was inaugurated as the nation’s 46th president and proceeded to tell the nation it could do the same: pick up the pieces and move forward.
Simple as that sounds, in the harsh environment of 2021 it will be as tough as nearly any previous test Mr. Biden has faced.
Mr. Biden was sworn in amid extraordinary circumstances: an ongoing pandemic, the glaring absence of an outgoing president who refused to accept the legitimacy of last year’s election, the scars of a mob attack designed to prevent him from taking office still visible on the Capitol just behind him, the nation’s first woman and first minority vice president at his side.
Any one of those conditions would have made the occasion historic. Put them all together and you had an inaugural unlike any America has ever seen, or is likely to see again. All of which gave extra poignancy to the question of what the new president would tell a troubled nation.