Wednesday, January 20, 2021

We Now Return to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

Our apologies for the four year descent into the Emergency Broadcast System. 

Every president has an opportunity to be great. Donald Trump had that opportunity, and he did change our political culture for good and (mostly) for ill. but instead of trying to unify the country around an issue that both Republicans and Democrats could enthusiastically agree, such as rebuilding our infrastructure, he went straight for the Muslim ban, building the wall, and repealing Obamacare. His response to Covid was to hope it went away. And then there were all of those tweets. He also wallowed, and continues to wallow, in baseless conspiracy theories. 

History does not treat wallowers kindly. Especially those wallowers who incite insurrections.

He's ended his tenure with a graceless exit, refusing both to acknowledge his defeat and the importance of the traditional passing of power from one administration to the next. 

History similarly does not look kindly on unacknowledgers. See Adams, John; Adams, John Quincy and Johnson, Andrew. Add in two impeachments. Stir.

Joe Biden can also be a great president, and he's set an  ambitious agenda to tackle not just Covid, but immigration, the climate, economic opportunity, paid family leave, and social justice. He will have a slim majority in Congress, and the hope is that a couple of Republicans will vote for bills that will move the country forward. There is much he can do with executive orders, but especially with immigration and climate, it would be best to pass some legislation. We'll see if that happens.

My hope is that enough Americans see the insurrection of January 6 as a turning point in American history that ends some of the animosity we've built up over the years. Many Republicans are not in the mood to compromise. This will not be easy, but it will be necessary.

Biden will at least speak the words of unity and patriotism, but it's up to all of us as Americans to welcome them in the national interest. I understand that Democrats did not do this in 2017, and my expectations are such that I don't see Republicans doing it willingly in 2021. Time, though, has a habit of chipping away at the jagged stone of obstruction until it becomes, if not smooth, at least less perilous. Donald Trump did not try to unify the country, nor did he speak words that soothed or tempered the emotions of the moment. Joe Biden will do that. And words have meanings.

As always, I remain optimistic that we will become a more inclusive, more united, more compassionate country than we've been recently and that we will work to right the wrongs we've inflicted upon ourselves and others. 

Godspeed to President Biden and all who serve this nation.


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