２０２１年２月１８日 例会報告 南井克之
We read an article of Japan Times: “An ordinary president shoulders an extraordinary burden,” issued a day after newly elected President Joe Biden delivered his inaugural speech at the Capitol in Washington. As the title of the article shows, its content is focused on descriptions of unprecedented challenges, both domestic and international, which President Biden will have to face and overcome. The following are the descriptions of the challenges: 1) Division within the nation, as occurred only once before in its history – when it erupted in a true civil war – and this time, as a result of his election win or legitimacy which remains contested among substantial parts of the population and as a result of his presentation of himself being ordinary and normal, hence being a safe harbor from the exceptionalism of his predecessor and also from the more extreme options of the left within his Democratic party, and 2) Observance of guiding principles of the new administration, described as an oxymoron, “ambition and restraint,” which needs to be carefully observed by his administration. The most effective way of applying principle of ambition is to complete ambitious projects that materially improve the lives of the embittered voters who believe that only Trump cared about and fought for them, and, on the other hand, however, he must exercise the restraint by resisting the urge, as shown in his campaign to fight on his opponents’ turf, and rather must willingly try to stand in the other person’s shoes.
On how the nation should rise to challenges, not of yesterday but of today and tomorrow, Biden, using an expression full of significance, “pledged to lead, not merely by the example of our power, but by the power of our example,” in order to be a strong and trusted partner for peace, progress and security. We discussed the meaning of this rhetorical expression of his speech and we finally interpreted it as: “the example of our power” meaning the precedent of the power of the U.S., proudly shown and visually known to this date by the people of the world, in the military, economy, technologies and other activities, and “the power of our example” meaning the real or genuine power to be shown hereafter by observing democracy, rule of law, justice, equality and unity of the people, which Biden referred to as the real source of the strength of the U.S.
We enjoyed learning a lot about the challenges the U.S. has to overcome from now under the new Biden administration. Again, it was good for us to read the article, in a highly timely manner, as this kind of article on the U.S. presidential inauguration comes up only once in four years.
Reporting on February 24, 2021