21 January 2021

NOTE FROM NORM: The Next American Chapter

The inauguration of Joe Biden as America’s 46th President was, once again, a reminder of our nation’s greatness.

I join millions of Americans who wish only the best for our new President as he leads our nation during difficult and challenging times.

President Biden’s speech was vintage Joe Biden.

Genuine.  Authentic.  Heartfelt.

Nobody will ever accuse the President of being a soaring orator, but that is not what America needs on this day.

It needed a call for unity and a promise, and a commitment, to represent all Americans.

Those who voted for him and those who did not.

His call for healing, for an end to the “uncivil” war that has divided America, is one we should all be willing to embrace.

We have a new President, and across the world, America made it clear that our tradition of a peaceful transfer of power should be a reminder that our Democracy endures.

We should celebrate America, celebrate this moment, and celebrate that our best days are yet to come.

As beautiful as his speech, there is no denying that President Biden’s greatest challenge will be for his Administration’s deeds to match his rhetoric.

Of our need for unity, there can be no doubt.

Unity does not mean the lack of clear differences of opinions, ideas, and philosophies.

Our challenge as Americans is not to allow those differences to manifest themselves in ways that drive us apart from one another.

To commit acts of violence against our institutions or one another.

We can, and we should debate fiercely when we disagree with one another.

Yet, disagreeing with one another should not mean we become enemies of one another.

Disagreeing with one another does not make one of us the good guy and the other the bad guy.

Finding compromise and common ground does not mean one of us has principles, and the other does not.

America is better and stronger when Americans embody Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s words, Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”

America had an election.  The people spoke.  A new Congress has been seated, and a new President has been inaugurated.

Every election has consequences.

This past election will, too.

How those consequences impact America’s future remains to be seen.

The President has a majority in both houses of Congress, although neither majority is large enough to move legislation without consideration of the minority.

In the days and weeks ahead, he should be allowed to build his Administration with a Team that he believes is best equipped to execute his vision and policies.

The obligation of Republicans, and Democrats, is to give full weight and consideration to nominees to critical positions in our federal government and act in good faith in approving or rejecting these candidates.

The same should be true of legislation and policies that the Biden Administration wishes to implement.

Republicans and Democrats should be able to debate these ideas freely, openly, and without recrimination.

They should also be able to do so respectfully and without going to war every time they cannot agree.

I understand the frustration of many of the 74 million Americans who supported President Trump, saying he never had that luxury. That for him, “the resistance” began even before he was inaugurated. That the new governing majority and its Big Tech allies still seek to punish and silence those who served under him and those who continue to challenge liberal orthodoxy.

A test of President Biden’s call for unity will be if he can contain those on the Left who clamor for the impeachment of a President who has left office, which will serve only to divide this country further. President Biden’s actions regarding unity will speak far louder than his words.

America needs leaders committed to the hard work of governing and not the easy headline.

I have spent the better part of my adult life in public service.

Whether it was serving in the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, the Mayor of St. Paul, or in the United States Senate, I have never wavered in my belief that we are all called to serve our country in some way.

Joe Biden’s call to Americans is to serve our country by being more civil to one another and lowering our rhetoric’s temperature and the intensity of our rancor.

It is a worthy call to action from a President with whom I have significant differences in opinion about policy and politics but have never questioned his sincerity or love for America or the American people.

America’s next chapter begins.

Let us all work together to make it the next best chapter in the most extraordinary story ever told about the most essential nation there has ever been.

We should all pray that President Biden is successful in building a strong America.  That success will be our success.

May God Bless President Joe Biden.

And God Bless America.