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At one point in his Inaugural Address, President Biden talked about previous generations of Americans who faced great challenges successfully by coming together around a common goal based on shared values.

He described it this way: “Enough of us have come together to carry all of us forward.”

I immediately wrote down those words. I have read them again and again, and now when I do the image I have is of the President of the United States looking me – and all of us – in the eye and saying: “Listen to me because I don’t want you to ever forget that in every generation, in every generation, enough of us have come together to carry all of us forward, and we will again.”

Those words are why I decided to pause in my series on America’s broken social contract and why it will take a genuine spiritual renewal of values to repair it.

I am still too filled with relief and hope with which the Inauguration of Joe Biden as President and Kamala Harris as Vice-president filled me not to write about it.

Given the pandemic we are in, I am relieved beyond measure knowing that an incompetent president and administration have been replaced with a competent president and administration. 

Over 420,000 (the number is staggering) Americans have died thus far. Joy and I are in the vulnerable age group, that worry made worse by the fact that not even once since it all started have I believe our country had a president who cared about how many people were dying.

He hardly mentioned them, made any references to what was happening. He persisted in happy talking the pandemic in the hope that voters would not think about the devastation taking place.

Controlled by his extreme narcissism, he had no capacity for empathy or even sympathy for the suffering of others. 

For an entire year, I felt like the one person I should be able to count on to be leading the fight against this deadly virus was missing from action.

And then it all changed. I am surprised myself at how quickly I went from worry to hope, from feeling forgotten to feeling remembered, from despairing over the future of our country to renewed pride in being an American.

This pandemic is awful in so many ways. I’m one of the lucky ones thus far, but I know it is not going to end anytime soon and I may become one of its victims before I get the vaccine.

At the moment, though, I am ecstatic that the most powerful person in the country has my back, all our backs, giving us a fighting chance to beat this virus.

That is the way it’s supposed to be. People should feel like their president has their back, that he cares about their worries, pains, and sufferings and is working on their behalf to help.

Joe Biden has suffered unimaginable loss in his own life and it has made a difference in the kind of man he is, and because he is now President we are the beneficiaries of the difference those difficult times have made in his life.

We now have an advocate for all of us being good neighbors rather than a president who encouraged selfish and childish behavior that made the pandemic worse.

I am not so naïve as to believe these people will suddenly become good neighbors, but I do believe it helps to have a President who is calling on them to do better, to be better, to grow up, to think about someone other than themselves so that more of us will survive until all of us can survive.

What a relief it is to have a leader who is trying to draw us together as a nation instead of turning us against each other for selfish political advantage.

I suppose because I felt the situation was so desperate, it didn’t take much for me to experience a turn-around in feelings, to go from feeling like one man had sucked up all the oxygen in the country to feeling like all of us are standing on the mountain top breathing in fresh air again.

I know that Joe Biden can be a bit sentimental, but I believe he is telling us the truth we need to hear and to believe, that enough of us will come together again to carry all of us forward.

I began by saying that I was postponing the discussion of how to repair the broken social contract that lies beneath the divisions we are experiencing as a country, but, in reading back over what I have written I think maybe I did anyway.

If enough of us do in fact come together to carry all of us forward, the breach in our social contract will have been repaired, and shared values will once again become a guide for the future.

What is more, by doing the hard work it will take to meet this challenge we will prove to ourselves and to the world that America is ready to take its place again in the community of nations and join in the fight of our lives to defeat this global pandemic. 

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