On the one-year anniversary of America coming to grips with the seriousness of COVID-19 — Tom Hanks was diagnosed! The NBA shut down! Travel from Europe was halted! — Joe Biden delivered his first primetime speech as President.
And, in doing so, he set an ambitious and exciting goal for the nation.
“A year ago we were hit with a virus that was met with silence and spread unchecked, denials for days, weeks, then months,” Biden said early in his speech.
‘That led to more deaths, more infections, more stress, and more loneliness.
“Photos and videos from 2019 feel like they were taken in another era. The last vacation. The last birthday with friends. The last holiday with extended family.
“While it was different for everyone, we all lost something. A collective suffering. A collective sacrifice.”
Even an optimist, Biden added this has been “a year filled with the loss of life and the loss of living for all of us.
“But in the loss we saw how much there was to gain in appreciation, respect and gratitude, finding light in the darkness is a very American thing to do.”
He then condemned those who have used the pandemic as an excuse for hate to divide the country at a time when healing is needed; not naming Donald Trump by name, and yet…
“Too often, we’ve turned against one another, a mask the easiest thing to do to save lives.
“Sometimes it divides us, states pitted against one another. Instead of working with each other.”
A day after Trump referred to Covid as the “Chinese virus,” the President emphasized:
“Vicious hate crimes against Asian Americans have been attacked, harassed, blamed and scapegoated.
“They’re on the front lines of this pandemic trying to save lives and still, still they are forced to live in fear for their lives just walking down streets in America.
“It’s wrong, it’s un-American and it must stop.”
Biden proceeded to say the country is on track to administer its 100th million vaccine by his 60th day in office, a feat no other country can come close to matching.
And when it comes to schools?
“With the passage of the American Rescue Plan… we can accelerate [the] massive nationwide effort to reopen our schools safely and meet my goal that I stated at the same time of 100 million shots of opening a majority of K through 8 schools in my first 100 days in office.”
Biden the honed in on something he has promised since last year’s campaign.
“My fellow Americans, you’re owed nothing less than the truth,” he said.
“And for all of you asking about when things will get back to normal, here is the truth.
“The only way to get our lives back, to get our economy back on track, is to beat the virus.”
Around the midpoint of his address, Biden set the mandate.
He said he will direct all states to make the Covid vaccine available to ALL Americans over the age of 18 no later than May 1.
“If we do all this, if we do our part, if we do this together, by July 4th there’s a good chance you, your families and friends will be able to get together in your backyard or your neighborhood and have a cookout and a barbecue and celebrate Independence Day,” Biden said.
“That doesn’t mean large events with lots of people together, but it does mean small groups will be able to get together after this long hard year that will make this Independence day something truly special.”
The end is near, everyone.
We just need to remain safe, smart and vigilant.
“There is light at the end of the dark tunnel of the past year,” Biden said this week, following an event at the White House.
“But we cannot let our guard down now and assume that victory is inevitable.”