The election is over and half of Americans are sleeping better while the other half are anxious but whether you voted “blue” or “red,” the reality is that most of us sit somewhere in the middle of that political spectrum. Surely there are people on the far left who really are communists, just as there are people on the far right who really are gun toting anarchists but most of us mosey somewhere around the middle. We have families, jobs, hobbies and a desire for stability and calm. We want the best for our children, our parents and those we love.
In the last several years, finding that common ground — the middle ground – has been difficult. We live in a 24/7 news cycle that asks us to stand on one side or the other yelling at each other. If our children behaved like some of our newscasters and elected officials – name calling, meanness and bullying – we would send them all to their room for a time out.
So maybe we should collectively chill out.
For those who did not vote for Joe Biden, may I ask you — ever so briefly — to forget the rhetoric and envision Joe coming to your home for a cuppa coffee to discuss the issues of concern to you.
For my Christian sister-in-law: Joe spent his first Sunday as president-elect at church rather than the golf course. This wasn’t a political statement – that’s where he is every Sunday. I am not a Christian, but for those who are, you now have a President who actually practices his Christian faith while still understanding the importance of women’s rights and family planning available at clinics such as Planned Parenthood.
For my neighbor whose child has a chronic disease, Joe understands the importance of health care for all. He will continue to try to fix the Affordable Care Act for the millions of Americans who benefit from that coverage, as well as supporting Medicaid that assures my neighbors child will continue to receive medical care without financially devastating her family.
For my niece who worries about her family members in the military, Joe will continue to support her Dad and her brothers. Joe’s son served in the military. War hero John McCain was his good friend and ally in the Senate even though they belonged to different parties because they both understood the importance of valuing service to country above party politics.
For my friend who is a hunter — Joe is not coming for your guns, but he is likely to propose banning assault rifles, which will not impact you. He also wants to reform universal background checks and improved gun licensing systems which might keep your children safer in school.
For my friend who owns a small business and for all Americans worried about the economy, Joe comes from a working-class family and is the first President who did not attend an Ivy League school. He understands the struggles of the middle class and supports a livable minimum wage. Joe thinks the wealthy should pay their fair share and will rescind tax cuts to people making over $450,000 annually.
For the benefit of all Americans, Joe will embrace medical and scientific advice to get the pandemic under control so that our economy can once again thrive. Joe is already putting together a team of experts to help Americans overcome a virus that doesn’t care if you voted blue or red.
There are many more issues: racial parity, immigration, the environment, global politics. None are easy to resolve but it will be even more challenging to make headway if we cannot figure out how to work together toward resolution. Our country cannot withstand another four years of divisiveness and calls to violent speech or action while the rest of the world watches in dismay at the disunity in our United States.
We need to find common ground and our first common goal can be to overcome the pandemic – people are dying, hospitals are full and medical providers exhausted. Let’s fight this together – as Americans under an administration emphasizing unity, collaboration, harmony and compassion. Our country could use a large dose of those qualities right now.
• Deborah Craig loves Juneau and hopes we continue to be a model of a kind, cooperative community.