‘Let’s give each other a chance,’ a daunting challenge these days

President-elect Biden's focus on lowering the temperature, on listening to each other again, is advice all Americans should heed.

By

Opinion

November 9, 2020 - 8:34 AM

Vice-President-elect Kamal Harris and President-elect Joe Biden wave to supporters after defeating Donald Trump in the 2020 U.S. Presidential election on Saturday, Nov.7 , 2020 in Wilmington, DE. Photo by (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Here at the Register, we realize our editorials endorsing the election of Joe Biden for president did not reflect the opinion of the majority of our readers. 

As a state, 56% of Kansans voted for the reelection of President Donald Trump; in Allen County, 71%.

When our opinion page has gone against popular sentiment, we have occassionally lost — usually momentarily — subscribers and advertisers. That’s a risk we run for taking a position, a practice from which an increasing number of newspapers refrain for fear of lost income. 

In our mind, a newspaper without an editorial page is an empty sandwich.

Our opinion page serves to provoke thoughtful debate, an urgent task in today’s era of digital echo chambers. But our paper offers a home for all, too. The truth is, the Register’s mission remains the same: to contribute to our community’s  wellbeing by telling its news. 

That’s who we really are.

IN HIS acceptance speech Saturday night, President-elect Biden recognized what he is up against. Americans are fundamentally divided as to where the country should be headed and Tuesday’s election proved neither side is going to disappear or be overwhelmingly rejected by voters.

But we are also highly engaged, as evidenced by the record-breaking turnout in the midst of a global pandemic, quashing any doubts our democracy is on its last leg. 

Current estimates are that 160 million citizens voted; 100 million by advanced ballot.

The challenge ahead is to direct that energy to a common good. 

Biden knows this, which is why he devoted his campaign and his entire victory speech to healing and bringing people together.

Step one: Give each other a chance. 

“For all those of you who voted for President Trump, I understand the disappointment. I’ve lost a couple of times myself,” Biden said. “But now, let’s give each other a chance. It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric.  To lower the temperature. To see each other again. To listen to each other again.”

THAT’S A big request, not only for us as individuals, but especially to members of Congress whose singular goal has to be to win, policies be damned.

Though Biden’s words are a balm, the only way our fractured country can begin to heal is through actions that actually make a difference in people’s everyday lives. A national plan to address the pandemic. A guarantee of healthcare. An infrastructure road map. Fair taxes. A dedication to turning back the clock on climate change.  A commitment to education. And a return to the world stage.

If Washington continues to be a hotbed of squabbles, obstructionism, culture wars and partisan posturing, then they will have failed Tuesday’s mandate for change. 

No matter their politics, Americans are calling for an end to the gridlock and a return to civility. 

Joe Biden appears to be the man for the moment.

— Susan Lynn

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