SOMERSET, KY. — Well, step one is a wrap. Every time Americans have confronted grave peril, we’ve displayed the good sense to pursue a saner path.
We did that last week. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won election on the most progressive political agenda of our lives. It calls for beating the novel coronavirus. Improving our health care and health insurance systems. Ending racial and gender violence and systemic injustices. Working with allies and competitors to rebuild our alliances and reinstate our international standing. Assisting college graduates by helping them pay their current student loans while establishing free community college and vocational training for all high school graduates. Rebuilding the middle class by creating far more access to well-paying jobs in energy, transportation, agriculture, forestry, and manufacturing to tackle the urgent climate disruption threatening the nation and planet.
Taken together, the Biden/Harris platform represents something the United States has been unable to accomplish for decades: reaching consensus on national goals. The election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris reflects a significant vector change in where America wants to go.
How hard will it be to pivot the country away from its current course? Really hard. But not impossible in the decade of the unexpected. Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.â€ That’s sound advice for what’s coming.
In the political arena alone, consider that although Trump lost the election, sufficient numbers of voters enabled Republican lawmakers to increase their numbers in state legislatures and the U.S. House. One of those victorious lawmakers is Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, who impeded President Obama and magnified, enabled, and protected President Trump. At this writing, though, McConnell faces the prospect that he won’t necessarily retain his position of senate majority leader. A runoff election is scheduled in January in Georgia to decide two senate seats. If the Democrats win…well that would be really interesting for McConnell, the senate, and the new president.
On Saturday evening Kamala Harris and Joe Biden delivered stirring speeches that celebrated women, African Americans, Latinos and so many others who delivered what Biden called “a victory for ‘We the People.'”
We the people, though, is far from all the people. Nobody needs to be told that the country exists in a kind of split screen of national experience. Some 75.3 million voters are elated by Biden’s election. Nearly as many, 71 million, are grieving and frustrated Americans, many who’ve dived into the boiling soup of conspiracy, lies and anger stirred by Donald Trump’s reckless and fabricated claim that he was cheated.
Americans danced in the streets all across the nation last night to celebrate Biden’s victory. On Fox News, anchors and their guests supported Trump’s infantile refusal to accept the election result as evidence of a “strong” president “who is willing to fight.” In North Dakota, where infections are out of control, 240 Covid-19 patients are hospitalized.
Joe Biden’s foremost task, offered as an abiding promise, is to end the tumult and deceit, make the split screen one screen, and push America to a new era of sanity and progress. “I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide but unify, who doesn’t see red states and blue states, only sees the United States,” he said. “And work with all my heart, with the confidence of the whole people, to win the confidence of all of you. For that is what America I believe is about. It’s about people. And that’s what our administration will be all about.”
— Keith Schneider