- - Sunday, January 10, 2021

Every president-elect promises that on Day One in the Oval Office untold effort will be made to reach across the aisle, play nice and jointly pave the road to prosperity for all Americans. These promises tend to expire almost as soon as they are uttered. So, when Joe Biden says, “I pledge to be a President who seeks not to divide, but to unify. Who doesn’t see Red and Blue states, but a United States,” it sure is hard to muster faith this sentiment will last.

But given the recent events in Washington, and the fractious and at times irregular election process that preceded them, we sure hope it does. Indeed, if Mr. Biden and his cohort are in any way serious about statements like “This is the time to heal America” or the promise to “restore decency, defend democracy, and give everybody in this country a fair shot,” the era of good feelings better be seriously pursued past just lip service.

And it has to be pursued not simply because it is the decent thing to do, but because Mr. Biden barely won this election. For all President Trump’s issues, for incessant media fracas about Russia-this or COVID-that, the Democrats only narrowly squeaked by. In the House, Republicans made big gains, and across the map, the percentage increases with Black, Latino and women voters were also cause for notice. For all his flaws, people loved — and still love — Mr. Trump.

Those people, or about half the country, are scared right now. They are worried about retribution — in the form of speech censorship, assault on religious and Second Amendment liberties, government-backed cancel culture, the coming theology of wokism, media distortion and untruths, job loss to overseas industry, job loss to domestic corporate conglomerates bent on automation — you name it. And, truth be told, they have serious cause to be worried.

The pressure on Mr. Biden to even the score will be immense. He himself may even feel a tinge to get some punches in. But if he gives in to his and others’ worse natures, the poison, already half-ingested by many Americans, will set it, and the result will be division or balkanization of America the likes of which we have never seen.

Conversely, if Mr. Biden governs fairly, keeps the progressive wing of his party in check, and remembers, always, that it’s the American people, not corporations or, say, China, he represents, then the next four years will go well. Seems like an easy decision to us.

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