I’m certain my views of what happened on Capitol Hill echoes what a friend wrote on Facebook about Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Here are my friend’s words:
“ … for the sake of normalcy and unity, it was nice to see Republicans and Democrats playing nice today. Sometimes rhetoric and ‘politics’ plays well. I’m not excusing the horrible things that have happened. But a reprieve from the constant in-fighting was needed. It feels lighter than it has in months.”
Indeed, it did. I told other friends this day felt like my “New Year’s,” a time for resolutions that will take me into the rest of 2021. I’m plan to go deep into the year with hope as my sidekick.
Of course, it’s a hope in the unseen, because I can’t be certain Biden can dismantle the political walls that Donald Trump, his disgraced predecessor, built. Those walls might be made of stuff too tough for anybody to bulldoze into rumble.
Yet that must be Biden’s objective. He and his administration must look at the landscape, then destroy what harmed the republic and rebuild on the few things Trump did that worked.
What Biden must not do, however, is stoke the hatred and mistrust that marked the four years under Trump’s leadership. He must try, if possible, to reach across the aisles and forge partnerships.
He can’t be foolish about those prospects. For in my mind, a naïve quest for bipartisanship marred Barack Obama’s presidency. Obama thought he could work with Republicans; they refused to work with him.
Many of those same Republicans now signal they are interested in bipartisan governance. U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, whose promise to obstruct Obama’s agenda was no idle threat, has seemingly jumped off the rickety Trump train and hitched the fortunes of the GOP on more stable transportation.
Already, it seems as if McConnell & Co. will play fairly.
They didn’t block or slow Biden’s nomination of Avril Haines as director of national intelligence. On an 84-10 vote, Haines sailed through her confirmation with overwhelming support from Republicans, a vote total that speaks to their political about-face in the hours after the Trump era officially ended.
No political observer should be under the allusion that civility has returned to Congress. Trump left allies aplenty there to thwart progressive politics, and his populist allies might win back those who favor bipartisanship out of sheer expediency.
One day in the Oval Office hints at nothing concrete. Biden, though, did more than just the ceremonial duties that begin administrations. He had to sort through the mess he inherited, so he had little time to dawdle.
Biden has an economy to fix. Moreover, he has to redirect governmental policy on the novel coronavirus, which Trump and his administration proved indifferent toward; and had Biden wanted more on his agenda for his first 100 days, here it is: reconstruct U.S. relationships with allies that frayed under Trump.
The best thing now is to forget Trump, although what happened Jan. 6 might prevent that.
We can’t be a republic obsessed with a loser. We must stack our political chips behind a winner. In the 2021, Biden is that man.
“Coming together as one is what makes us great,” my friend wrote. “Later comes accountability. TODAY is about unity, liberty, democracy and celebration.”