On this historic day, we mark a new beginning, a fresh start that signals to the nation and the world that America is back on the right side of history, at least insofar as our leadership is concerned. Out with corruption; in with honor and integrity. Out with virulent narcissism; in with humility and mutual respect. Out with intellectual bankruptcy and incessant lying; in with truth, science and bona fide expertise. It is a day to celebrate all that is right with America, and to muster the steely-eyed resolve that will be necessary to fix all that has gone wrong over the past four years.
Having risen to the pinnacle of American political power, President Biden finds himself in a tough spot nonetheless. Advancing his agenda while an impeachment trial revs up will prove challenging. Yet, having served 36 years as a United States senator and eight as vice president, Biden knows a thing or two about finessing the legislative process and building productive relationships across the aisle. We desperately hope he is able to assemble a bipartisan coalition of the willing, with enough Republicans abandoning the seditionist wing of their party to make governing possible.
With a 50-50 tie in the U.S. Senate, Democrats must stand together to ensure that progress marches on. We’re comforted by the notion that Vice President Kamala Harris, who we believe one day will be president, will command the Senate dais with dignity and courage, providing the tie-breaking vote as needed to keep us moving forward. We’re also thrilled by the prospect that her example will continuously remind girls and young women around the world that they are powerful and filled with potential for greatness.
There is much to like about Biden’s “Day One” policy agenda, including a series of executive orders that will, among other things, help alleviate the financial burdens of the COVID pandemic by pausing student loan payments and extending restrictions on evictions and foreclosures. Our heritage as a welcoming nation is reaffirmed by his move to end immigration restrictions against citizens from certain Muslim countries. We trust Biden will also redouble efforts to reunite hundreds of immigrant families, whose children were separated and held in cruel captivity on our southern border.
Recognizing the existential threat of global warming, President Biden will immediately reverse four years of climate change denial by rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement and adopting a national goal to create a 100% clean energy economy with net-zero emissions by 2050. Conservation and environmental stewardship will again be the order of the day with a plan to conserve 30% of American lands and waters by 2030, reinstating prohibitions against commercial exploitation of critical habitats that were sacrificed in the name of rapacious capitalism.
Rejoining the World Health Organization — despite its flawed performance during the COVID pandemic — is another good move, reestablishing our proper role in the global public health partnership. We’re confident that efforts to defeat the coronavirus here at home and on a global scale will take on new energy and focus, buoyed by American leadership, know-how and an actual strategy to end the pandemic.
Repealing the transgender military ban gives us renewed hope that this is just the start of an all-out effort to break down the barriers and systemic discrimination that still tip the scales of social equity against the LBGTQIA community. People of color, too, can look forward to enlightened national leadership that will not rest until police brutality, economic injustice and institutional racism are relegated to the trash heap of history.
All of this is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg, but each measure is emblematic of our nation’s new direction under enlightened, compassionate leadership. You can go ahead and exhale now.
We’re certain it will take months to flush out the old and restock federal agencies with the highly qualified public servants who became an endangered species over the past four years. It will take years to roll back the damage caused by the previous administration, but we’re confident that our new president, vice president and cabinet members are up to the task.
Fresh from our national celebration of his life and legacy, let us close by honoring the timeless wisdom of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As we walk together toward a more equitable, just and prosperous future for our nation and its citizens, may his words, delivered the day before he was taken from us, guide us forward:
‘’Let us rise up tonight with greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge, to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation … standing up for the best in the American dream, and taking the whole nation back to those great wells of democracy, which were dug deep by the founding fathers in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.”