I’ve worked hard over the last few months to quell the political rhetoric I was sharing here for a little while, but I hope you’ll humor me one last time. As this is the day of 46th President Joe Biden and his inauguration, I just wanted to put a little bow on everything I’ve said this year.
One of the things that has always challenged me is my non-partisanship. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s just that I’ve never been able to identify as a Democrat or Republican. It’s like joining a college fraternity to me and that’s nothing I was ever interested in. I don’t need talking points from those “more powerful” than me, explaining what “we” think. I prefer to draw my own conclusions without the help of my club.
I’ve been like this since I was a kid. Whether it was questioning things at church, questioning my racist grandmother, or questioning my very liberal father, I always wanted to know why people believed what they did. Quite often, I didn’t get answers that made sense, or seemed like a well thought-out reason for their belief. There was always another side to consider. Maybe this is why I felt pulled to journalism at a young age, earning my first paycheck from a newspaper at 17 years old.
As many people know, I was once on my local city council. Tradition in my city has it where your political party isn’t listed next to your name. There were many times over the two years that I was serving that a citizen would ask which political party I was affiliated with. I’d almost always ask which they thought. If they liked me, they picked their political party. If they didn’t, they picked the other party. It really had nothing to do with my decisions.
The most recent Presidential Election was the seventh one in which I was lucky enough to vote. Previously, I’d voted for 3 Democrats and 3 Republicans, including Donald Trump in 2016. My criteria for this election, as with every election is to balance what the world, state or city needs now with what the slate of candidates brings to the table. We needed change in 2016. Hillary Clinton was not it. But, the first six months of 2020 also made it clear that Donald Trump was not the answer. I would have preferred several different Democratic candidates than Joe Biden, but we’re in a moment in time that needs a steadying of the ship and a vision for the future. In sports terms, we’re in a rebuilding year.
It never really enters my mind if someone is a Democrat or Republican. It enters if they are a good person and have the potential to be a good leader. Understanding we’re all flawed, and even the best leaders make the occasional poor decision, I haven’t been that disappointed in any of the presidents in our lifetime. The closest would be this last year of Trump’s presidency.
Time to Come Together
Donald Trump was not equipped for office, and we learned that the hard way. I don’t understand the zealotry of those who cannot see the mounting failure of his administration. And I’ve stopped trying. In deeply trying times, he showed he had neither the skill set nor the demeanor to command the office. I don’t say this as Democrat. I say it as an American. He wasn’t fit for the job and if it actually surprises you that he lost by record numbers, you weren’t paying objective attention. You were just rooting for your guy.
It’s OK if Joe Biden isn’t your guy. He’s not my guy. But, I think right now it’s more important we have the right guy instead of your guy or my guy. And Biden may be that. We have to at least give him the chance.
Do you know who always likes to say “It’s time for the healing to begin” and “it’s time to come together”? The winners. The losers usually talk about moving to Canada. Or now, apparently, civil war and #NotMyPresident. I understand both sides. When you win, you expect the doves to be set free and a new world. When you lose, it feels like a personal rejection of your values. Its human nature, and it’s OK…as long as it’s a passing feeling, not one that is stoked and fostered.
Accept Reality and Make it Better
Whether you’re a myopic one-issue voter, the chairman of your local political party or didn’t vote at all, we now have a new president and a new Congress and we will move forward. It’s what we always do.
I’m sorry if your guy loss. You’ve got four years to find somebody who appeals to 50% +1 of us. If you want to be better than the other side, don’t sink to some of the techniques of division they used in the last four years. So many people are so loyal to the far sides of their teams that they don’t realize most people are actually far closer to the middle, willing to consider the other team, or like me, not wanting to identify with either team.
The secret to long-term control and power in the United States, and I think Joe Biden may realize this, is in being a uniter. There are few presidents who have really done that. The last is probably Reagan.
Honestly, it starts with us. And I think the secret may be to stop talking about politics for a little while, or at least talking less about personality. And less about the other side’s media. If you’re on the winning side, be tactful. If you’re on the losing side, be gracious. Unity isn’t going to happen because of who is serving us. It’s going to be because of us.
And with that, I’m done talking about politics.