In life, unfortunately, there is no “grace period”. Sorry if you needed time to “stretch out” first. All stats are official. And, no, there are no Mulligans. Not on this golf course. To their credit (and to the credit of their discipline), Team Biden pointed only once to the empty cupboard they were forced to start with, Team Trump having denied them even a modicum of a “normal” transition. We’ll stick a pin in why that was for a later discussion. Team Biden was entitled to take smartphone photos of the playing field as it was handed to them. They did — and then they moved on to getting things done despite the field’s being nearly vertical (pitched against them) and knee deep in garbage.
In our culture of instant responses to everything, everything’s fair game. Let’s please, please, PLEASE promise to change that — for each other’s benefit. In the meantime, what is our take on the first few days of Joe Biden’s presidency? Have they, indeed, hit the ground running? Have there been stumbles? Are they running where they should be running (instead of where they shouldn’t)?
Team Biden’s messaging seems right so far — unity but with accountability. Getting the nation’s work done because the nation needs it done now. Efficiency, transparency and local responsiveness to well-thought-out top-down-planning. No “American carnage” so far. In fact, signs of real hopefulness. This is where governing meets politics — they’re not the same thing (at least they shouldn’t be). Maybe that’s our problem — we keep mashing up politics (the art of negotiating our needs) with how we serve our needs.
Wait a minute! Is there a spiritual way out of this — neither religious nor irreligious — just a different way of thinking about it? After all, that’s what spirituality brings to any table it sits at — a different way of thinking than the purely grounded. What IF we brought a bigger way of doing things to how we govern ourselves? What if our democracy had a kind of “come to Jesus” moment? Hmmmmmm… sounds like something we should talk about…
Or, if watching’s your thing…
Notes & Sources
As we keep one hand on the nation’s pulse, the other poised to grab the thermometer the instant it beeps, let’s assess what happened to Patient America this week…
Most discernible change to the patient? Light appeared in her eyes for the first time in years. She didn’t seem nearly as tense. In fact, she smiled. A lot. And laugh out loud. The patient acted like a great weight had been lifted from her shoulders.
Dare we say “from her soul”?
Remember the end of Hitchcock’s “The Birds”? That’s kind of how America was this week. The inexplicable, violent chaos only seems to end — at movie’s end — when the people get in their car and go away — carrying the thing that just may have sparked the whole “outrage” — a pet bird in a cage.
The moment Trump “won”, I felt how those birds felt. Offended. But it wasn’t the politics. We had “lost” elections before — and in unsatisfying ways. Bush v Gore was theft and everyone knows it. But, Al Gore — graciously — conceded for the good of the nation. We got W instead.
Truthfully? Watching the inauguration, I openly wept multiple times. Literal tears of joy. My very English wife wanted to know if I was going to spend the next four years doing that?
No, I said, today was all I needed. And anyway, there was now work to be done.
Trump losing the election was essential. It felt good and right. But, Trump officially losing the power we never gave him — that was the moment when things literally changed inside my head and, apparently, millions of other heads too.