President Joe Biden – that sounds so good to say – made a strong and forceful case for American unity during his inaugural address. He did not whitewash the attempted coup of just two weeks ago and denounced the lies and liars who fomented the invasion of the Capitol.
He also did not sugar-coat the problems facing this country after four years of golfing and graft. Our standing in the international community, which we once led, has never been lower. The problems we face are world-wide problems that must be addressed by all nations working together.
And, that means Americans need to be working together, too. Before they became cultists, most Republicans offered conservative ideas to the American dialogue. We need them back at the table
instead of spreading ridiculous conspiracy theories and trying to grind American government to a standstill so their corporate sponsors can maximize their profits.
Isolating its cultists into ineffectiveness will likely be a GOP goal. Getting mainstream Republicans to participate in government instead of tossing a monkey wrench into the works will be harder. They’ve been doing the latter for more than two decades. President Biden has extended them that invitation to action. The country will be better off if they show up.
President Biden’s executive actions these first few days seem to include reversing racist policies at the border and airports; setting national standards (at last) against a pandemic that has killed 400,000 Americans due to indifference and ineptness; taking steps to give our heirs a habitable planet and trying to revive an economy damaged by pandemic paralysis.
No president can root out the hatred in a bigot’s heart, but ensuring equal justice under our laws and protecting the country from domestic terrorists must be a priority.
The U.S. Postal Service must be revivified after last year’s attack on its operations. The key word here is “service.” Ben Franklin’s postal system serves us all. Protecting it from privatizing privateers and those who would use it to control and distort communications must be a priority.
Above all else, since it supports all else, our environment must be protected. Global warming must be addressed. Our parks and monuments must be safeguarded against despoliation.
The country is in a mess; there’s a lot to clean up. The speech fit the occasion. Now it’s time for work.
Second in command of the president’s work force will be Kamala Harris, the first woman in U.S. history to serve as vice president. Countries around the world have benefited from having women leaders for more than 40 years. Some of the best-led countries in the world today have women in their top spots.
American misogyny has been almost as engrained as our racism. So, for Harris, a woman of African-American and Asian-American descent, to become vice president is a step that is long overdue.
Not only is her election a sign of hope and possibility for girls and all children of color, but it is a sign of maturity for the rest of us. Women outnumber men in this country. Addressing our problems without their voices is like going into a boxing match with one hand tied behind our backs.
The wreckage scarring every aspect of our lives by the worst president in our history cannot be wiped clean like a chalkboard. It’s going to take some work. We have the right leaders for the job.
(Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party: scdpok.us or facebook.com/SCDPOK/.)