Let the lesson inform, not overshadow, the opportunity

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Joe Biden will be our next President!

Mr. Biden’s victory was unequivocal, and crucial for democracy, sustainability, and decency. Yet, the blue tsunami that many (whether in hope or fear) expected, did not happen. While solidly rejecting an unprecedently unfit incumbent, voters might allow Republicans to keep a (diminished) Senate majority, and did reduce Democrats’s majority in the House.

In these mixed results, there is a crucial lesson and a precious opportunity.

At its simplest, the lesson is that 2016 was not a fluke. We truly are profoundly divided in our priorities. We are also divided in our values, perhaps even more broadly than we believed. And we are troublingly vulnerable to manipulation through conspiracy theories and other malicious misinformation. But, digging deeper, the lesson might also be that we remain a nation in search for balance, and that we are (now, as often in the past) reluctant to entrust government to a single party or philosophy.

Even more because of this reluctance, Joe Biden became the opportunity. A moderate with real moral compass, he will be a President for all of us—as presidents should. He has and will continue to be a steadying force, weathering storms with patriotism, quiet strength and innate decency.

But the opportunity is also embodied in ‘We The People.’ When the country needed us most, we shook our apathy to vote orderly and in record numbers—even during a deadly pandemic, and in spite of unbecoming presidential disruptions. However we voted, we care deeply for how our country is governed, and that is valuable and powerful.

In the days and years ahead, it is essential that the lesson of this election informs, rather than overshadows, the opportunity voters created.

Finger pointing, lines in the sand, and violence are not the way forward. Rather, they just keep us stuck in acrimony and mediocrity, making our once-inspiring nation weak and vulnerable. By contrast, blending patience, tolerance and civility with resolute, collaborative and principled action, we can restore America to a powerful vision—towards the ‘more perfect Union’ that we and the world urgently need us to be.

Without complacency, naïveté or amnesia, but with open hearts and minds, let’s take Joe Biden’s lead and work across our divides to give ourselves a chance. A chance for all of us—Americans, so different and diverse in so many ways, but bound together by geography, history, responsibility and love of country.

The road ahead is long and hard. But it is also wide: There is room for all of us, if we are willing.  

— Antonio Baptista

Note: My Outside the Box blog offers insight into my political and societal preferences. Select examples:

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