Editorial: A Chance At Unity?

Editorial: A Chance At Unity?

The Buzzer Staff

On November 8th, 2020, former Vice-President Joseph Biden became the President-Elect of the United States, winning both the popular vote and the Electoral College to push him over the edge and beat President Donald Trump. In his first address to the nation following his win, he called for unity above all else.

This message could not be coming at a better time. Over the past years, America has seen divides deepen, hateful rhetoric become more common, and intense disagreements erupt over seemingly simple topics. 

The modern political ethos scorns compromise. In a world of dire issues, from climate change and racial injustice on the left to gun rights and economic freedom on the right, neither side is willing to give ground on their positions. It can seem like a total betrayal of principle to reconcile beliefs. Each seat in government, appointed or elected, has become territory to be lost or gained by one party or another. 

Perhaps, from a partisan perspective, this makes logical sense. With the Electoral College, executive power to appoint justices, and other political infrastructure, it is not necessary to reach a national consensus and win every vote. So long as a party can secure a majority, its priorities will become the priorities of the nation. 

Fundamental institutions of American democracy such as the Senate have lost sight of their intended purpose: educated debate and legislation for the overall benefit of the country. In his final time speaking on the Senate floor, the late John McCain, an Arizona senator and 2008 presidential candidate, spoke on the deep issues among his colleagues. “What have we to lose by trying to work together to find those solutions? We’re not getting much done apart. I don’t think any of us feels very proud of our incapacity. Merely preventing your political opponents from doing what they want isn’t the most inspiring work. There’s greater satisfaction in respecting our differences, but not letting them prevent agreements that don’t require abandonment of core principles, agreements made in good faith that help improve lives and protect the American people.

This division is not healthy. Leaving half the country ignored does nothing to foster a healthy relationship between both sides. Should the voices of the 70 million voters who support President Trump be silenced? Should society disregard left-leaning voters in Republican-majority states? 

There must be more of an effort to reach middle ground. President-elect Biden spoke of an “epiphany,” where certain voters who disagreed with him would take the time to understand his platform and perhaps change their mind. As he emphasized in his address, it’s time we “give each other a chance.” We need to start listening, trying to understand each other, finding the beliefs that we do share in common. Because we do share some, no matter how it might seem. As Biden said, “It’s time to heal America.” Here at The Buzzer, where we strive to bring the Hastings community together, we hope he succeeds in this endeavour. The country needs him to be a united force.