The world witnessed the 59th peaceful inaugural of an American president Wednesday, marking the first day of Democratic President Joe Biden's presidency. It is cause for hope and celebration by all, regardless of political preferences or votes cast by those wanting four more years of then-President Donald Trump.
Even the most ardent supporters of Trump — and all 74 million who voted for him for a variety of reasons — should hope Biden proves himself among history's best world leaders.
Americans should base a vote for any presidential candidate only on the wholehearted belief it will best serve the country. Whoever wins should make society freer, healthier and more prosperous.
Biden will do all of the above if he executes his duties with selfless, cross-partisan wisdom and love for his country.
When Democrats nominated Biden out of a crowded field of left-leaning candidates, they chose the most moderate of options. Biden has a long history of working across the aisle, even supporting and voting for then-President Ronald Reagan's first round of tax cuts. He voted three years in a row for a balanced budget amendment.
The far-left periodical In These Times finds Biden's Senate tenure so uncomfortably moderate it calls him "conservative."
Though no genuine conservative, Biden has legislated as a pragmatist. His inauguration speech conveyed messages no rational person should oppose. Examples:
— "Let's begin to listen to one another again."
— "Politics doesn't have to be a raging fire, destroying everything in its path."
— "I will be a president for all Americans. All Americans. And I promise you I will fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did."
— "We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal."
— "I understand that many of my fellow Americans view the future with fear and trepidation. I understand they worry about their jobs."
— "We'll be a strong and trusted partner for peace, progress and security."
At 78, Biden became the oldest person to take office as president. As he has indicated, the age factor means he might forgo seeking another term.
This potentially gives him a unique advantage. He might choose to govern, from day one, as a president with no concern for a future election. If he commits to one term, he can lead straight from the heart with the lone objective of leaving this country better than he found it.
Aside from a genuinely uplifting speech, Biden's first day on the job raised concerns. Though he has the potential to govern "for all Americans" for years into the future, a series of first-day executive orders probably won't move us in the right direction.
Biden revoked the Keystone Pipeline permit, a move that eliminates thousands of high-paying blue-collar jobs and an important source of conventional energy. He reinstated more than 100 regulations eliminated by Trump, a move that threatens to stifle the economy and cost people their jobs. He ordered an end to border wall construction, which could mean more illegal immigration and competition for American jobs.
If all goes as planned, Biden will oversee the executive branch of government for at least four years. Like all presidents, he will learn on the job — a position for which there can be no perfect preparation.
No one will agree with everything Biden says and does in the coming years. Those who question his decisions can only hope the president is right, and they are wrong.
Regardless of policy disputes and political philosophy, all should support Biden's vision for a country at peace that affords safety, security and prosperity for those who play by basic laws and mores that define our way of life.
We should all, regardless of political affiliations, hope and pray for Biden's leadership to make a great country better for all who consider it home.
REPRINTED FROM THE COLORADO SPRINGS GAZETTE
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