Here is the Biden announcement video:
Biden appeals to the “Soul of America.” Historian Jon Meacham recently published “The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels.” (Biden and Meacham appeared together earlier this year).
Biden focused his campaign video on the Charlottesville race riots of August 2017. In his Introduction, Meacham begins with the story of segregationist Strom Thurmond’s 1948 speech in Charlottesville and then moves to the racial violence in Charlottesville in 2017. (Biden and Meacham also discuss this here at around the 56-minute mark).
If I were Alexander Burns annotating this speech at The New York Times I would note Biden’s debt to Meacham.
I have chosen to consider the American soul more than the American Creed because there is a significant difference between professing adherence to a set of beliefs and acting upon them.The war between the ideal and the real, between what’s right and what’s convenient, between the larger good and personal interest is the contest that unfolds in the soul of every American.
Philosophically speaking, the soul is the vital center, the core, the essence of life….Socrates believed the soul was nothing less than the animating force of reality….In terms of Western thought, then, the soul is generally accepted as a central and self-evident truth. It is what makes us us….
Biden’s campaign video is inspirational. It will win him supporters. But unlike Meacham, who distinguishes between the “American soul” and the “American Creed,” Biden confuses the two. He begins with a reference to the “soul,” but spends most of the speech talking about America as an “idea.”
I am not sure I have a larger point here. I am just wondering if “soul” and “idea” are incompatible when applied to a nation. 🙂