BIDEN TIME


Anyone who was paying attention on Saturday, Nov. 7, heard and saw much of America rejoicing outside, on the sidewalks and on the streets, after the media call that proclaimed Joe Biden president-elect.

For many in Georgetown and elsewhere, the joy was pure and contagious. Did you see it? Did you hear it? Did you feel it? Cars honked. Hands waved. Fists bumped. Biden-Harris campaign signs were carried and aloft. American flags were streaming from arms and cars. There was music and dancing in the streets, especially in front of the White House at Black Lives Matter Plaza.

There we were outside, enjoying a perfect Saturday filled with sunshine — and with most of us masked. The streateries were welcoming, the smiles wide.

When was the last time that such joy had been exuded by so many? Along with this and solid, reasonable politics and behavior to come, let us declare that it’s BIDEN TIME.

While not yet certified, the election results are looking like a perfect solution for our divided country. The conciliator, mediator, Nice Man of the Senate Joe Biden has become president-elect. Future first lady Jill Biden will be a strong force for community colleges, the savior of the middle class. Vice president-elect Kamala Harris is an energetic example of American diversity — the first woman, first Black, first person of South Asian descent to hold the position.

What’s more, as a result of the election, Democratic and Republican extremists will lessen their sway in the House and Senate as their numbers narrow. 

Reactions filled the streets and the Twitterverse. A few follow here.

“We kept the republic!” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote. “Congratulations to Joe Biden on his victory for the soul of our country. Congratulations to Kamala Harris for making history. It’s a time to heal and a time to grow together. E Pluribus Unum.”

Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus of “Veep” added: “Madam Vice President is no longer a fictional character.”

Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a statement that read, in part: “As the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., has a special interest in who becomes our most famous neighbor, and we could not be prouder to have President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris join our city. They will not only bring dignity back to the White House, but a real commitment to the shared values we uphold and fight for every day in our city — the values embodied by Black Lives Matter Plaza leading right up to their front door.”

Former President Barack Obama chimed in on his vice president: “We’re fortunate that Joe’s got what it takes to be President and already carries himself that way. Because when he walks into the White House in January, he’ll face a series of extraordinary challenges no incoming President ever has — a raging pandemic, an unequal economy and justice system, a democracy at risk and a climate in peril.

“I know he’ll do the job with the best interests of every American at heart, whether or not he had their vote,” Obama continued. “So I encourage every American to give him a chance and lend him your support. The election results show that country remains deeply and bitterly divided. It will be up to not just Joe and Kamala, but each of us, to do our part — to reach out beyond our comfort zone, to listen to others, to lower the temperature and find some common ground from which to move forward, all of us remembering that we are one nation under God.”

Still, the star of Saturday was Joe Biden, who addressed the nation in a speech from Wilmington, Delaware, that sought to uplift us all.

“I’m humbled by the trust and confidence you’ve placed in me,” Biden said.

“I sought this office to restore the soul of America, to rebuild the backbone of this nation, the middle class, and to make America respected around the world again and to unite us here at home.

“For all those of you who voted for President Trump, I understand the disappointment tonight. I’ve lost a couple of times myself. But now let’s give each other a chance. It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again, listen to each other again. To make progress, we have to stop treating our opponents as our enemies. They are not our enemies. They’re Americans. They’re Americans.

“Folks, America has always been shaped by inflection points, by moments in time where we’ve made hard decisions about who we are and what we want to be: Lincoln in 1860 coming to save the union, FDR in 1932 promising a beleaguered country a New Deal, JFK in 1960 pledging a New Frontier and 12 years ago when Barack Obama made history and told us, Yes, We Can.

“Well, folks, we stand at an inflection point. We have an opportunity to defeat despair, to build a nation of prosperity and purpose. We can do it. I know we can.

“I’ve long talked about the battle for the soul of America. We must restore the soul of America. Our nation is shaped by the constant battle between our better angels and our darkest impulses, and what presidents say in this battle matters. It’s time for our better angels to prevail.

“Folks, in the last days of the campaign, I began thinking about a hymn that means a lot to me and my family, particularly my deceased son, Beau. It captures the faith that sustains me and which I believe sustains America. I hope, and I hope, we can provide some comfort and solace to the 230,000 Americans who’ve lost a loved one due to this terrible virus this year. My heart goes out to each and every one of you. Hopefully this hymn gives you solace as well.

“It goes like this: ‘And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings, bear you on the breath of dawn, and make you just shine like the sun and hold you in the palm of His hand.’ Now together, on eagle’s wings, we embark on the work that God and history have called upon us to do.”

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