US President-elect Joe Biden has said democracy was tested this year when coronavirus hit and the people of the country showed that they were up to the task by voting in record numbers in the presidential elections amid the pandemic.
He also said the country is at war with the coronavirus and called for redoubling of efforts to combat it.
“Let us be thankful for democracy itself. In this election year, we have seen record numbers of Americans exercise their most sacred right that of the vote to register their will at the ballot box. Think about that. In the middle of a pandemic, more people voted this year than have ever voted in the history of America,” Biden said in his Thanksgiving address from Wilmington in Delaware on Wednesday.
Over 150 million people cast a ballot. That is simply extraordinary, he said.
“If you want to know what beats deep in the heart of America, it’s this: democracy. The right to determine our lives, our government, our leaders. The right to be heard. Our democracy was tested this year. And what we learned is this: The people of this nation are up to the task,” Biden said.
“In America, we have full and fair and free elections, and then we honour the results. The people of this nation and the laws of the land won’t stand for anything else. Through the vote the noblest instrument of non-violent protest ever conceived we are reminded anew that progress is possible,” he said.
“That ‘We the People’ have the power to change what Jefferson called “the course of human events.
“That with our hearts and hands and voices, today can be better than yesterday, and tomorrow can be better still. We should be thankful, too, that America is a covenant and an unfolding story,” he added.
The president-elect called for uniting the country.
“You want us Democrats and Republicans and Independents to come together and work together. And that, my friends, is what I am determined to do. Americans dream big. And as hard as it may seem this Thanksgiving, we are going to dream big again,” he said.
Observing that the country faces a long, hard winter, Biden said Americans have fought a nearly year-long battle with a virus in this nation.
“It’s brought us pain and loss and frustration, and it has cost so many lives – 260,000 Americans and counting. It has divided us, angered us, and set us against one another. I know the country has grown weary of the fight,” he said.
“But we need to remember we’re at a war with a virus, not with each other. This is the moment where we need to steel our spines, redouble our efforts, and recommit ourselves to the fight. Let’s remember we are all in this together,” he said.
“For so many of us, it’s hard to hear that this fight isn’t over, that we still have months of this battle ahead of us. And for those who have lost loved ones, I know this time of year is especially difficult,” he said.