As the Biden administration takes office, we begin our return to multilateral approaches to problem-solving in a complex world, but many may not be on board. We need to recognize and tend to their grievances.


In the past, the fortnight between the Electoral College vote certification and inauguration has always been interesting. Those leaving office tout their accomplishments, their successors promote their vision of the future, and we navigate through a period of uncertainty. As these interregnum periods reach their climax, the country is at its weakest point. Its ability to respond to crises is suspect. The peaceful and effective transfer of power has always depended on goodwill and respect so the new administration is ready on day one.


While the events in the lead-up to Biden’s inauguration have been unprecedented, WE MADE IT. We recognize that politics is a competitive process by which we attempt to strike a balance between individual liberties and the common good. At the same time, we should not fall victim to  intolerance and lack of forbearance. We need to guard against the ability of a few to snuff out the free exchange of ideas, the lifeblood of our democracy. There is little we can do if we remain divided. “A civil society demands from each of us goodwill and respect, fair dealing and forgiveness.


Over the past couple of days, commentators have recited a litany of challenges the new administration will need to address. It includes doubts about government effectiveness, especially in light of miscues during the Covid-19 pandemic, concerns about social, cultural, and political issues, financial anxiety driven by economic inequality and prospects for the future of work, and rivalries between factions that seek hegemony. At the same time, we should be hopeful. Americans have always borne down and looked forward with the belief the best is yet to come.


At noon, Joseph R. Biden, Jr. will “solemnly swear that [he] will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of [his] ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” As he begins his term, let us remember “no matter how hard-fought political campaigns may be or how close the elections results … those who lose accept the verdict … and those who lose also accept those who win.”


As the “ship of state” tacks (once again), let us focus on the collective actions required to ensure that our democracy survives for all generations to come and not become an insolvent phantom of tomorrow. Let ‘s strive for a single nation of justice and opportunity.


Here, here!


Joe Smialowski

January 20, 2021

Follow at Twitter @joe_smialowski

O Ship of State – Reflections and Anticipations

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