Biden to Delaware grads: ‘Now it’s your hour’

“There’s one message I hope you take from me today: This is no time to be on the sidelines,” he added. “We need all of you to get engaged in public life and the life of this nation.”

Biden told graduates to remember that “democracy is a human enterprise.”

“We do many things well,” the president said. “Sometimes we fall short. That’s true in our own lives. It’s true in the life of the nation. And yet democracy makes progress possible. And progress comes when we begin to see each other again not as enemies but as neighbors.’”

The president said this year’s graduates have a head start, representing a generation that “is the most generous, the most tolerant, the least prejudiced, the best educated” in American history.

“Keep the faith and take it back,” he exhorted. “Please. This is yours. Take it back. We need you.”

Biden also referred to the recent mass shootings: 19 children and two teachers were killed at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, and on May 14, a gunman espousing racist hatred killed 10 Black people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.

“Too much violence. Too much fear. Too much grief,” Biden said in his graduation speech. “Let’s be clear: Evil came to that elementary school classroom in Texas, to that grocery store in New York, to far too many places where innocents have died.”

The president said that “we cannot outlaw tragedy, I know, but we can make America safer.” He called on “all Americans at this hour to join hands and make your voices heard, to work together to make this nation what it can and should be. ”

Biden was presented with the university’s medal of distinction before his remarks. He had previously received an honorary degree in 2004.

Biden, who graduated from the university in 1965 with a double major in history and political science, served as a senator in Delaware for more than 30 years before becoming vice president. It was his fifth commencement address at the university, where the school of public policy and administration bears his name. He also spoke to graduates in 1978, 1987, 2004 and 2014. His sister, Valerie Biden Owens, and his wife, first lady Jill Biden, also graduated from the university.

“It feels like coming home because this is home,” Biden said, reflecting that “Some of the best and most important years of my life were spent here.”

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