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You no doubt saw or heard at least some of Joe Biden’s pitch-perfect victory speech last weekend, but what about the victory video that his campaign released hours earlier, just after CNN and other networks declared him the president-elect?
It’s a gorgeous two minutes of music (a rendition of “America the Beautiful” by Ray Charles) and images, precisely none of which show Biden. He cedes the frame and the moment entirely to Americans themselves — to Black Americans, white Americans, Native Americans, disabled Americans, young Americans, old Americans — and to the landscapes in the lyrics of the song.
The video made clear that we, not he, were the focus, the story, the point of all of this. His speech hours later similarly elevated the first person plural over the first person singular, which was singularly transcendent under Donald Trump.
Largely to draw a contrast with Trump, Biden ran one of the humblest presidential campaigns I can recall. He claimed victory in the presidential race last weekend with the same radical humility. And that tonic of a tone could be crucial to his agenda.