Friday, December 18, 2020

33 Days to Fresh Start: Can Biden Forge Unified Nation?

 Joe Biden told Stephen Colbert on his “Late Show” Thursday, “The nation is looking for us to be united... politics has become so dirty and vicious, so personal and mean, a clenched fist instead of an open hand. I think people are looking for us to come together” (

Dr. Jill Biden observed during the interview that her husband secured more votes than Donald Trump because of the former’s ability to show empathy during a time when more than 300,000 of our fellow countrymen and women have succumbed to the coronavirus. 

Biden’s calming tone, a composure some might mistake for weakness, does not mask his understanding of the intense task he faces convincing opponents in Congress to work with him to combat the economic and health issues facing America. Nor does it assuage the prickly distrust almost half of the country feel towards his pending presidency. 

Case in Point: Here’s an example of the vituperative attacks Trumpsters hurl at those who question their defeated leader. I’ve reproduced a redacted email sent to a friend who dared challenge Trump’s leadership:

“You and (redacted name) have now been blocked from my email. 

“I am DONE with you. I do not wish to engage with you ever again.

“I am so sick and tired of the lot of you and the obnoxious stupid old Jewish irrelevant men who have nothing better to do than be communist/corporatist/ globalist/Soros sympathizers. 

“If Trump is rude and crude then you all are a cancer on society with your promotion and enabling of the undermining of individual liberty and equal justice for all. Feel free to champion ever bigger govt that erodes the rights and freedoms of the individual, far far away from me.

“Do not email me again because if it somehow gets through the block I’ve put on, I will report it as electronic harassment.”

Wow. Having been previously banned by the same individual I was not surprised by the temper of the remarks. I initially characterized it as one of the funniest emails I ever read. But it also is one of the most troubling and depressing as it displays in graphic terms the depth of our nation’s divide.

Disagreement has always been part of our heritage. It did not originate with Donald Trump. Nor did the vile nature of disagreement, the personal disparagement, begin with him. It surely will not end with his departure from the White House, a legacy he might relish but one we as a nation should be ashamed of. 

Joe Biden’s job is to restore the soul of America. Its commitment to all of its citizens, to its allies and to the multitudes around the world who look to America as a beacon of hope and freedom.

The patrimony Biden inherits has become more complicated because of his immediate predecessor. In the last year, alone, we have watched incredulously as Trump ignored overwhelming medical and scientific advice to fight the pandemic and barely comforted the families and loved ones of 311,000 fatalities among 17.3 million cases of COVID-19. 

Trump has remained silent as details emerge of a massive government and industry security breach, almost surely perpetrated by the henchmen of his Russian bro, or should we say, comrade, Vladimir Putin.

As police overreaction, if not brutality, transpired before our smartphone and video-cammed empowered eyes in racial incident after racial incident, Trump lashed out at protesters seeking justice, offering no comfort to the aggrieved.

Preoccupied with his reelection campaign and with undermining the pre- and post integrity of the election, Trump has tarnished America’s image at home and abroad. 

In 33 days Trump becomes an ex. The divorce will be complete, complete with an alimony providing him taxpayer funded perks including a pension, staff and office expenses, medical care or health insurance, and Secret Service protection. 

The mantle of obstructionism to progressive ideas and ideals will pass again to Mitch McConnell if Georgia votes in at least one of two Trumpian senators seeking office in a January 5 runoff election. 

Even with a razor thin majority McConnell would have the power to stymie Biden’s hopes of unifying the country behind economic and pandemic relief. Having just won his own reelection, McConnell has six years of worry-free freedom to shaft the country even as his own state of Kentucky fails to become more successful. 

The future will tax Biden’s skills as a politician and populist leader. Are we, as he believes, seeking unification, or are we to march onward as opposing armies?