President Donald Trump leaves office today with his legacy in shambles. Any chance he had of earning the admiration of his fellow Americans was ruined by his unwillingness to accept defeat in the November election, which he has obsessed over in the months since at the expense of pressing national issues. His inept, self-obsessed behavior reached its nadir with the January 6 Capitol insurrection he inspired.
So Trump is now the first president to be impeached twice, a badge of dishonor he will wear forever. A majority of voters say he should not be allowed to hold elected office again, according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll.
Tim Malloy, a Quinnipiac University polling analyst, offered in a press release announcing the poll findings Monday what can be taken as a summation of how reprehensible this has all been:
“A seething President Trump seems poised to slip out of D.C. by the back door while the transition takes place, leaving a wary capital encircled by troops, a weakened country assaulted by a murderous virus, and a weary population disillusioned and divided, wondering if the person next door is a friend or an enemy.”
This is the United States of America Joe Biden will now lead.
It’s a tall order, and among Biden’s first steps has been a call for unity. He will be president of all Americans, including those who did not vote for him. It would further the cause of freedom and democracy if those who did not vote for him would reciprocate. The challenges facing the nation are severe and serious. Our new president will need us.
Trump’s presidency has been so damaging it’s important we not forget the many lessons lest we invite a repeat of the many errors. But we also have to move on. What’s facing the nation is too important.
Today’s inauguration, whether the embittered Trump is there to aid in the peaceful transfer of power or not, symbolizes that need to commit to the future. It’s a day to look forward with hope, and faith in the proven strength of the American people, and the knowledge that in our history we have faced many daunting challenges.
Biden certainly has his fair share of them: the coronavirus pandemic, the economy, climate change, racial injustice.
The first on the list must be the priority. On the day before the inauguration it was reported that the coronavirus death toll in the U.S. had surpassed 400,000. That horrifying number will get worse.
The forces of the federal government must be marshaled to get the vaccination in as many arms as possible in as short a time as possible. We trust state and local governments will be invigorated by this federal involvement and support, which until now they’ve had to live without.
We can’t make guarantees, of course, but it seems logical that turning the tide against the virus will make a difference when it comes to meeting the other challenges. Certainly business and the economy will get a boost when people can stop being afraid of being near one another.
We have learned to stay close in other ways, and to rally for one another because it benefits us all.
Today’s inauguration is a day for that. It’s the day to say, welcome President Joe Biden. We are on your side and at your side, for a better America.