After the most disastrous administration in U.S. history, during the most catastrophic health crisis in our lifetime, and facing the most divided country since the Civil War, we now have President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Now what? The bar has been set very low, but the expectations of not only this country but the world are very high. And now it is truly the case that we need to “make America great again.”
I never thought I would use that phrase, as I have always been troubled by the United States’ message of arrogance and its history of ignorance. Although the United States is responsible for some of the proudest moments in world history—in democracy, scientific and medical achievements, industry, and pioneering spirit—it has also had some of the worst moments, including disregard for human rights, abuse of the environment, lack of respect for the sovereignty of other nations, racism and a “do as I say, not as I do” attitude.
The United States may lead the world in economic and military might, but it is also a world leader in terms of environmental damage, corruption, and consumption of natural resources. Most, if not all of these issues, affect all countries, but in most cases remain within their own borders.
The United States has lost the admiration and respect of much of the world as a result of the Donald Trump nightmare of past four years. Now Biden has more on his plate than any President since Abraham Lincoln in terms of not only “making America great again,” but making America sane again.
How did the United States go from being a “role-model democracy” to the laughing stock and pity of the world? We have lots of work ahead of us, and it will take all of us to work together as one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.
But we can do it as we have done it before: Sí se puede. We did it after the Civil War and, more recently, after 9/11. Now we need to do it after Trump.
In the aftermath of a hopeful inauguration, let us also remember George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Let us remember John Lewis and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Let us remember Lady Liberty and that shining city on a hill.
Are you fired up and ready to go? The lives of our children and our children’s children depend on us. Let us give Joe and Kamala a chance and help them “make America great again.”
Enrique Morones is the founder and executive director of Gente Unida, the founder of Border Angels and the House of Mexico, and a former member of the San Diego County Human Relations Commission .