HARTFORD - Former Vice President Joe Biden gave a rousing speech Friday afternoon denouncing â€śthe sense of hate and terrorâ€ť in the air, especially after a Florida man was arrested earlier in the day for allegedly sending pipe bombs through the mail.
The recipients of the bombs were a number of prominent Democrats, including Biden, and critics of President Donald Trump.
Biden made his appearance at the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy as part of a campaign rally for gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont and his fellow Democratic nominees. The standing room only crowd filled the schoolâ€™s gymnasium.
He was preceded by several student musical performances, and speeches by a number of Democrats campaigning for office this year: Congressman John Larson, the incumbent representative for Connecticut First Congressional District; Sen. Chris Murphy, who is seeking his second term; Jahana Hayes, who is running to represent the Fifth District in the House of Representatives; as well as Lamont. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who is not currently running for office, also spoke.
â€śThe sense of sense of hate and terror seems to be gripping us,â€ť Biden said, while acknowledging that we donâ€™t yet know all the facts behind the pipe bomb case.
â€śBut you know, this country has to come together,â€ť he continued. â€śThis division that exists, this hatred, this ugliness, it really has to come to an end. And what I hope my friends on the other side, as well as Democrats, understand is that words matter.â€ť
He quoted the Irish poet William Butler Yates from a century ago: â€śThings fall apart; the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, the blood-dimmed tide is loosed and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned; the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.â€ť
â€śOur political opponents are not our enemies, the press is not the enemy of the people,â€ť he went on, in a speech that lasted more than half an hour.
He had many harsh words for President Trump for praising â€śthugs and murderers,â€ť referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin, North Korean Leader Kim Jung-un and the Saudi Arabians allegedly behind the recent murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Biden also spoke idealistically about the traditional vision of America as â€śa shining city upon a hill,â€ť while condemning the current Republican majority in Congress as â€śchoosing party over country.â€ť
He concluded by urging the enthusiastic crowd to get out to the polls, saying â€śLadies and gentlemen, get up, get up and take it back! This is America!â€ť
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.