President Biden told graduates at the University of Delaware on Saturday that American democracy is at an inflection point.
Speaking at his alma mater’s commencement ceremony, Mr. Biden said the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville; the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol; and this month’s back to back mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas have challenged the country in profound ways.
“This is a decisive decade for America,” he said. “At a time when we can choose the future we want. At a time when we must decide that darkness will not prevail over light.”
He said the class of 6,411 new graduates would face a stark challenge that would define the future of the nation.
“Now in this moment, we face our own test,” Mr. Biden said. “A test of resolve. A test of conscience. A test of history itself.”
The president depicted a similar inflection point for the U.S. role in defining global order on Friday in addressing graduates of the U.S. Naval Academy.
“No officer knows the range of challenges they will face,” the president said to an audience of about 1,100 graduates and 20,000 family members at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial stadium. “Things are changing so rapidly that the next 10 years will be the decisive decade of this century.”
He said the new generation of Navy and Marine officers would serve a key role in defending democracy from rising authoritarian regimes such as Russia and China.
“That’s the world you’re graduating into,” the president said. “We’re going to look to you to ensure the security of the American people. We’re living through a global struggle between democracies and autocracies. You’ll be representatives and defenders of our democracy. Our nation is placing in you great trust and great faith.”
Mr. Biden graduated from the University of Delaware in 1965. Saturday was the fifth time Mr. Biden has spoken at the university’s commencement.
“The question we face is nothing less than who are we?” Mr. Biden said Saturday. “What do we stand for? What do we believe? Who are we going to be?”