As I grew up following World War II, those in my generation believed that Americans, working together, could solve any problem, overcome any obstacle. Ours was a can-do country–the sky was not even a limit because we could tame that also with our technology. Unfortunately, that optimistic American spirit has been dampened in recent years.
The country now faces a toxic cocktail of huge challenges that must be resolved if we hope to give our children a better future. The pandemic has taken almost 400,000 lives in less than a year and wreaked havoc on the economy of main street America. Simple scientific measures to limit the damage of this serious challenge–masking, social distancing, sanitation–have been hindered by politicization of the issue.
Climate change is an increasing danger to our way of life–violent weather, record wildfires, sea level rise–but the government has only made it worse during the last four years. Our infrastructure is crumbling, endangering lives and economic growth, but our leaders have just watched it happen. Extremist groups are on the rise in our country, threatening our internal peace and security.
Recent events have caused a strong majority of Americans to believe we are headed in the wrong direction. The Real Clear Politics polling average on January 17 shows 71.4% of us think the country is on the “wrong track” with only 19.6% saying the country is headed in the “right direction.” Our international alliances, which help protect our national security and economic well-being, are under severe stress. Approval ratings of the U.S. in our key allies–Britain, Germany, Japan, Korea–have plummeted in the last year. We can’t be safe alone in a dangerous world.
What can we do about getting the country off of the wrong track? A new President is taking the wheel on January 20. He says he intends to address each of these crisis situations. We should all give him a chance to do so. If he has the county’s help, but fails to deliver, then people can look to others to do the job. But if we truly are the “United States,” we ought to give a duly elected President the chance to solve these serious problems.
As a start, the opposition should recognize that Joe Biden was elected in a fair election. The opposition produced absolutely no credible evidence to show otherwise. The Attorney General of the United States affirmed this to be the case. If we want the new president to have the legitimacy to carry through with his promises to cure the country’s problems, this is a necessary first step. He will be our only President for the next four years. If we try to cause him to fail out of bitterness, the country will also fail. Petty politics have no place in the serious business of getting the country back on its feet.
Abe Lincoln, the founder of the Republican Party, famously said in June of 1858, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” A President of the other party, Lyndon Johnson, put it in less elegant language over a century later, “Don’t spit in the soup, we all gotta eat.” The people of this country need to consider how far we have come since the Civil War by uniting together to further the common good. Let’s unite again and give President Biden an opportunity to fulfill his pledges.