Albuquerque Journal

America gets the chance for a reset under Biden/Harris

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The time is right for the nation to hit the reset button as America embarks on a new presidency.

When Joe Biden is sworn in as president and Kamala Harris as vice president today amid the pandemic and with 25,000 National Guard troops stationed nearby, the optics will be unlike any seen in Washington, D.C., since the capital city was made into a fortress during the Civil War.

Breaking with tradition, outgoing President Donald Trump won’t be there after refusing to concede the election and being impeached by the U.S. House last week for a second time. That’s probably for the best.

He came into office in a combative environmen­t, and in the last few months and weeks he has escalated that atmosphere with lies about the election, calls for his supporters to fight the results and on Jan. 6 urging them to march on the Capitol. Within hours, an angry mob rampaged through the nation’s seat of democracy, forcing lawmakers to flee for their lives until order was restored.

But today is not about Trump. Today marks a new presidency and the end of the prior administra­tion.

It is a tragedy that the world will see an American inaugurati­on devoid of crowds and conducted behind barricades and steel fences. It is not the image of freedom and democracy the United States was built on.

It is worth noting that Vice President Mike Pence is expected to attend today’s inaugurati­on, and the presence of the steadfast Pence will continue the tradition of one executive administra­tion peacefully ceding power to the next one.

That is how it should be — and one of the most important cornerston­es of our country.

With the transition in power, Democrat Biden is bringing his own aggressive agenda to the White House — an agenda that calls for major changes from policies enacted by his Republican predecesso­r.

Many of Biden’s proposals will not be popular with everyone — and he should expect to be challenged.

But Biden should assume office without Republican­s attempting to discredit him from Day One as many Democrats sought to discredit Trump even before he assumed office. Like today, far too many Americans were convinced Trump won under false pretenses; they could not believe and/or accept the fact that he was, indeed, our president. It would be a disservice to Biden — and the nation as a whole — to become lost in a similar rabbit hole.

That is not to say many of Trump’s actions in office didn’t deserve scrutiny, criticism and more — they did.

And Biden’s actions and policies should be viewed with the same scrutiny.

There cannot be two standards. The journalist­ic theory of “false equivalenc­y” has driven deep wedges between the media and much of America.

At former President Barack Obama’s 100-day news conference at the White House in April 2009, a New York Times correspond­ent stood up with a straight face and asked Obama what had “enchanted you the most about serving in this office?” Trump, on the other hand, was repeatedly badgered at his first news conference as president-elect in January 2017.

But as we embark on a new presidency today, the opportunit­y is here to begin anew, without unfounded clouds of suspicion hanging over our 46th president. President Biden and Vice President Harris have enough issues before them without having to spend time debunking continued claims of election fraud leveled by Trump and his supporters.

Today marks a reset for Washington, for the nation. Many Americans will welcome today with a sigh of relief after the chaos of the past few weeks and months.

Republican­s and Democrats alike need to recommit themselves to working to better this country, treating each other with respect, listening to opposing views and reaching for compromise.

And we all should hope for a successful Biden presidency, a presidency that listens to all sides and works across the aisle. Because if he succeeds, the nation succeeds.

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