Biden Commissions the Class of 2021: Rise up and 'Root out Systemic Racism'

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

The younger generation could turn our terrible tide.

So stated Joe Biden Saturday.

He delivered an address to America’s high school graduates, which was posted to social media.


“This past year has been an extraordinarily difficult year for our country and for the world,” the President said.

He expressed his pride:

“I’m proud of each and every one of you.”

He acknowledged 2020’s “loss and anxiety and disruption.”

Biden spoke of adolescents “losing loved ones and friends, losing time with each other.”

He praised youngsters for being “incredibly resilient.”

They’re “ready for what comes next,” he hailed.

And this new group’s particularly of note:

“Every class enters the history of the nation up to the point that has been written by others. But few classes — once in every few generations — enters at a point in our history where it actually has a chance to change the trajectory of the country.”

Joe recalled the 60’s:

“We were in the midst of a great movement for civil rights, women’s rights, and environmental rights.”

It was a time of redirection:

“We faced an inflection point, and we did our best to seize that moment because things were changing so rapidly.”

So it also goes for eighteen-year-olds today:

“And now, you face another inflection point. As we put this pandemic behind us, rebuild our economy, root out systemic racism, and tackle climate change, we’re addressing the great crises of our time with a greater sense of purpose than never before.”


It was quite the commission.

If I may say so, respectfully, it brings questions to mind.

Over several months, President Biden’s spoken against systemic racism.

To my knowledge, he’s not named one mechanism of the evil at large.

If he were only to expose the levers, they might immediately and necessarily be changed.

He’s announced a cancer, yet withheld the location from which it may be cut.

And if the system is vile, why does he lead it? He’s its most powerful entity; why enable it to persist?

For three and a half decades, he co-ran the system via Congress; he was its vice president for eight additional years. Did he “seize the moment” in the 60’s, or are the nation’s structures braced with white supremacy — white racism, purposefully constructed amid his extended watch?

Lastly, if he’s being honest about systemic racism, why was he silent for 45 years before letting us know?

I ask only due to his remarks; I doubt answers are on the way.

Such is the nature of politics — words are spoken, from what I can tell, if they’re thought to possess the quality of pleasant sound.

Having effective value isn’t always given evident regard.

Continuing his address to the Class of ’21, the Commander-in-Chief made a prediction:

“You represent one of the most gifted and talented and well-educated generations in American history. And you’re gonna see more change in the next ten years than we saw in the last 50 years.”

That just might be true.


Will the new generation “translate that unprecedented change into a greater measure of happiness and prosperity for…the world…”?

Biden’s going with Yes.

Joe quoted Irish poet Seamus Heaney:

“The longed-for tidal wave of justice can rise up, and hope and history can rhyme.”

And maybe amid that change and that rhyme, they can come together and agree, in positions of leadership, for their words not to only sound soothing, but to — much more than now — have meaning.

In a way that makes the world a better place.

“Graduates, you have a chance to make hope and history rhyme,” he repeated. “So congratulations.”



See more pieces from me:

Watch: Amazon Driver Brutally Beats Elderly Woman After Alleged ‘White Privilege’ Remark

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University Student Govt. Calls for ‘Content Warnings’ Before Classwork Shared on Abuse

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