By Joe Rector

It’s been more than a week since the presidential election occurred, but we’re still waiting for one candidate to concede and another to begin the transition process. Some Americans are angry and deny the outcome of the election. They declare that President Trump lost because of voter fraud, even though Republican officials state no such activities occurred. Biden supporters are antsy for him to put his team together and fume that he is being denied the chance. The fact is that on January 20, 2021, Joe Biden will be inaugurated as the 46th president. My question is now what?

Our country holds the horrible distinction of being the one in most danger from COVID-19. The number of daily cases is surging toward 200,000 per day, and death tolls are about to explode. What is the leadership at all levels willing to do? Yes, a shutdown is a terrible thing, something that no one wants. Vaccines might well be within our reach in just a few months. Are leaders willing to demand things that will require shutdowns, curfews, and masks? Will citizens who understand that taking control of the virus by following these dictates abide by them? Do we have the courage and willpower to do those things that will save the lives of strangers, family, and even ourselves?

Many are suffering financially as the pandemic continues to spread at supersonic speeds. Before the election, Republicans and Democrats failed to work out a deal that would provide relief for small businesses and individuals. They let polarization reign as folks struggled to pay utilities, meet mortgages, and buy food. With this new president and congress, will our elected officials put aside their differences and compromise to develop a plan to help others? Yes, our deficit is blown, but the truth is that if help isn’t provided for those in need, we might not have a country that runs a deficit.

As important are the relationships between people. In times before, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents worked for their preferred candidates. The competition was intense, and sometimes tempers flared. However, after the elections, people went back to their lives. No matter how much they disagreed in politics, folks remained friends.

These days, all sides dig in and declare war. Their comments are meant to enrage and offend opponents. Closed minds refuse to see any good points of the opposite side. After the election, as occurred in 2016, people are angry. They refuse to accept defeat and get on with life. Friends who might have supported another candidate are dismissed with slurs and taunts.

Can we Americans agree that what makes us best is the common ground we can find? We are a great country that has always fought enemies that tried to bring us down. That is happening right now, but the irony is that WE are the enemy. We are fighting each other. Why? The extremes of both sides seem to whip up the dissatisfaction. Why doesn’t the majority who live in the middle take the lead and tell the extremes to take a hike? Let’s declare that the U.S.A. is a country where the majority rules? Let’s stop the fighting and return to the better parts of us that can help our country survive a pandemic, unemployment, and extremist views. The time has come to regain our title as the beacon of freedom and democracy.