Mail Bag

Manning up for America

Posted

To the Editor:

Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony was not performed before a record crowd in attendance. That did not hurt his pride.

It was, in fact, his reason for being there. Covid-19 spacing and security measures employed because of the recent insurrection there on Capitol Hill necessitated the emptiness.

They also bookended the list of challenges facing the country Joe Biden loves and has served for 49 years. He was there to meet those challenges.

At Gettysburg, 158 years ago, Abraham Lincoln spoke to one of the events of July 1-3, 1863, the turning point of the Civil War. He was there to solemnly dedicate a cemetery to the soldiers who had fallen on that battleground preserving our Union.

In Washington, last week, Joe Biden stood on democracy’s sacred ground at the Capitol, built during the Civil War, and reconsecrated it with the quiet resolve of a single man prepared to give all he has for a purpose greater than himself.

Every word he spoke was genuine and intoned, not as a speech, but as an oath.

The Presidency ages rapidly those who take it on. Joe Biden saw that with Barack Obama and yet stood up at age 78 and offered himself to the office, for the sake of each and every one of us and the ideals that are his America. He understood what that meant and so did his wife, Jill.

You could see that in her eyes and the way she gently touched his back when they kissed before heading into the Capitol building.

There were also no illusions as the new President listed the problems that lie before us: “an attack on democracy and on truth, a raging virus, growing inequity, the sting of systematic racism, a climate in crisis, America’s role in the world.”

His assessment?

If we act together we can emerge from all this not only unconquered but stronger than ever. Stronger because we won’t take for granted again the “fragile and precious” nature of our democracy. In the turning point of our current Uncivil War we stared into the abyss that comes from lies and hatred and rallied ourselves through our democratic institutions. We shouldn’t soon forget that lesson.

Four years ago, if the past President’s speech could be condensed into two words, they would have been “fear” and “I.”

Applying the same constraint to President Biden’s speech the words would be “hope” and “we.”

The job ahead won’t be easy or quick and everyone knows it. We are cleaved along so many lines — partisanship, race, age, news sources, etc. — that we are not so much divided as diced. That is what has made us so vulnerable to the unscrupulous and won’t be remedied until the root issues of misinformation and economic and social inequity are addressed one by one.

That is the Biden agenda, sworn honesty and accountability his process. What he asks from us is patience and fair mindedness, “hope” and “we” brought into real world service of our foundational American dream.

Gasconade County Democrat Club

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