On Saturday night, President-elect Joe Biden said something profound as he addressed the nation after being declared the winner of the election. “It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again, listen to each other again,” he said. “And to make progress, we have to stop treating our opponents as enemies.” Alluding to Scripture, he added: “This is the time to heal in America.”
And I say “amen” to that.
We need to re-calibrate. We need to take a breath and find solutions together. Together means Ds and Rs collaborating, compromising, listening. Progressives and conservatives. Atheists and religious. People of all colors and distinctions. To loosely quote John Lennon, we need “a brotherhood of man.”
We run into this philosophical wall all the time. We implore people to be bipartisan. We beg for a move to the middle. But we can’t get there. People are polarized.
As we reflect on Biden’s win and observe the current administration’s stubborn refusal to concede or meet in the middle, it is quite obvious we have a long way to go.
You have all heard from me on a lot of these issues. Yes, I support our police, but I believe Black Lives Matter. I want to find a unique and forceful cure for addiction and clean up our streets, particularly along the Methadone Mile. But I also believe that addiction and crime cannot be solved by counseling and soft power alone. We need good order and discipline.
Like life in general, political debates don’t have easy “you’re right and you’re wrong” answers. In the end, I am looking in the mirror as an individual politician and as a Democrat. I know my party needs to change. We all do.
I want a movement of people who don’t believe in a D or an R. They believe in the B, for Boston, on the front of Red Sox caps. That’s our letter. And it is a sign of who we are.
Whether you are a Republican or Democrat or otherwise, we need to get behind our new leadership and take the next steps forward. Joe Biden can’t do everything for us. Neither can Donald Trump.
The historian and TV pundit Doris Kearns Goodwin wrote a great book about Abraham Lincoln’s presidency called, “Team of Rivals.” In 1860, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Abraham Lincoln waited for the results from the Republican National Convention in Chicago. When Lincoln emerged as the victor, his rivals were upset. They wanted to be president. Lincoln brought these rivals together and established a cabinet of different beliefs, world views, and political leanings. His goal? Find common ground and preserve our Union.
At the risk of sounding melodramatic, our Union is in trouble again. We need a movement to unite us.
I hope President-elect Biden pursues a similar path of inclusion and bipartisan togetherness as Lincoln did.
We need to understand we’re all different. And it is our differences and diversity that make us a nation. We are not uniform. We are a melting pot. in Boston, Iowa, Alaska, Maryland, and everywhere around this great nation so desperate for some common ground and calm.
We don’t need uneducated attacks, vicious tweets, and diatribes from the far left and far right. We don’t need the “us vs them.” We need “us for all of us.” Let’s get together and do this. Not for Ds and Rs. For the B. For the USA.
Frank Baker represents District 3 on the Boston City Council.