Keep Your Focus on the Pandemic
By Mark Horan
Joe Biden should not call for unity today. Nor should he seek to “heal the nation.”
It’s a trap. Such noble goals are already seen as naïve at best, dog whistles at worst.
The left sees calls for unity as acquiescence to Mitch McConnell and, worse, the mob that looted and rioted on January 6th.
Trump supporters view healing the nation as directed at them and a rejection of what they stood for: an end to unfair economic policies, a rebuke of the expert class and its liberalism, and, yes, a fight against those who would strip them of their place in society, especially people of color.
The way to heal and unite is for Biden to stick to the script he’s already been writing: A relentless, single-minded focus on tackling the pandemic and its economic fall-out.
Over the weekend, Dr. Anthony Fauci appeared on Meet the Press and sounded like a man liberated from an insane asylum (indeed, he has been). In the fall, Fauci often seemed tired and deflated. Months of trying to navigate Trump’s inept and chaotic Covid response will do that to you.
On Sunday, he buoyantly outlined the Biden team’s plan for speeding the vaccination process, investing in widespread testing, and finding a way to open schools. One hundred million vaccinated Americans in the first one hundred days? Very achievable, he said.
One could not help but be relieved
Biden is doing what Trump should have done all along, bringing in the top medical experts, assembly an action team, and finally moving at “warp speed.”
Undoubtedly, Biden will want to have his own “Ask not what your country…” moment. But now is not the time to pass torches or dream big dreams or to have nothing to fear but fear itself. Now is the time for something far more prosaic: plans of action, relentlessly competent execution, and steely resolve
The country’s mood was anxious enough before the thugs made their way into the rotunda. Now, the left is on tenterhooks, warning that “returning to normal” is not good enough and that unity is just code for preserving white privilege. And much of the right, though chastened a bit by the insurrectionists’ actions, is still in no mood to acquiesce to Democrats.
If Biden can solve the pandemic — and unless the virus’ science takes a horribly bad turn, he will — and bring economic relief to the Black, Latino, and White working class, the wounds might begin to heal.
Naïve? Maybe. Not achievable given historic levels of polarization? Perhaps. But it’s our best shot.
Today is a day to let out a sigh of relief. Donald Trump is gone. Joe Biden is president at noon. It’s time to repair the damage. And in so doing, take the first steps toward hope and unity, through action, not words.