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Home / Articles / Columnists / Life 101 /  May America Abide In Healing
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Monday, January 4,2021

May America Abide In Healing

By Cary Bayer  
Four days after the largest voter turnout in a century, almost every media outlet called the election for Democratic candidate Joe Biden. Within hours, millions of Americans and people from dozens of countries around the world spontaneously took to their streets, their calles, their rues, and their strasses to celebrate the fact. They couldn’t contain their joy; there was literally dancing in the street. To quote Martha and the Vandellas, with just one lyric change:

Calling out around the world Are you ready for a brand new beat?

Biden’s here and the time is right For dancing in the street It’s an invitation across the nation A chance for folks to meet There’ll be laughing, singing, and music swinging Dancing in the street.

This global celebration in the streets was taking place during record-breaking spikes in the deadly Coronavirus pandemic. Were these celebrants masochistic? Hardly.

They were rejoicing in what they felt was the saving of democracy, and the ushering in of a unifier.

Whatever your political stripe, there’s no getting away from the fact that these past four years have been among the most divisive in American history. President Trump – whether you love him or hate him (there was really little in between) – divided the country with inflammatory rhetoric.

During the Sixties we had a Silent Majority and a counterculture. The Sixties before that – if that’s what they were called during the Civil War between 1861 and 1865 – was the most divisive time in our country, with brother literally killing brother. These past four years brother shouted at brother; sister stopped talking to sister; fathers had had it with sons.

So polarized was America that the loser in the presidential election received more votes than anyone else prior to this race. Passions were so high that voters came out of the woodwork; people who hadn’t voted before risked their lives to wait in polling station lines for hours on end to make sure their voices were heard.

Those on the Left have been concerned for several years now that democracy was being threatened by what they perceived was a president with strong autocratic tendencies. This country was born out of a revulsion for and revolution against a tyrannical king. Lovers of democracy today came out to vote in droves to make sure the democracy that was born from that revolution didn’t die in the hands of a tyrannical president.

Joseph R. Biden Jr. was elected to restore democracy. While he’s a man of deep Catholic faith, he’s certainly no savior. So what exactly is he that’s causing such optimism? At a time when people I know have seriously talked for years about America needing an amicable divorce, here comes a man who won’t hear of it. Here’s a man who’s determined to not just reach across the aisle, but to reach into the hearts of Americans to find compassion for “the other side,” to learn how to not just spout slogans, but to listen to what their fellow Americans have to say, even if it’s 180 degrees from their point of view.

While the president is known as the Commanderin-Chief, I perceive Biden’s election to be that of a national Healer-in-Chief.

When I listened to his victory speech, my spirit was lifted by his vision. He spoke of “a victory for we, the people,” echoing language from our Constitution.

“I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide but unify, who doesn’t see red states and blue states, only sees the United States… I sought this office to restore the soul of America... And to make America respected around the world again. And to unite us here at home. It’s the honor of my lifetime that so many millions of Americans have voted for that vision.”

He then went on to say:

“It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again. Listen to each other again. And to make progress, we have to stop treating our opponents as our enemies. They are not our enemies. They are Americans… The Bible tells us to everything there is a season, a time to build, a time to reap and a time to sow. And a time to heal. This is the time to heal in America.”

I’d never been a big fan of his; he seemed to me a career politician whose views swayed with the prevailing cultural winds. But this wasn’t that guy. This was someone taking on not just a political role, but a cosmic one. This was a man stepping into the role of deliverer. It was as if the Universe had forged a man of compassion; losing your wife and young daughter in a fatal automobile accident in your twenties, and then later losing a son to brain cancer will do that.

America needed someone whose compassion has been flowing for most of his entire life. As our president-elect put it, “Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end here and now.” And finally:

“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.”



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