Scott Brown, President and Dean of New England Law | Boston, shares his insight on what's on the horizon, and how we can all move forward together.
To say that our country is going through trying times right now is the understatement of the century. In a sight not seen since the War of 1812, the Capitol was hijacked by unlawful rioters. Five lives were lost, and the United States was shaken to its core.
Washington now looks more like a war zone than a cradle of democracy. As many as 20,000 National Guard members have been summoned to keep the peace. Not since the Civil War have forces been stationed at the Capitol. As someone who spent more than three decades with the National Guard, it is a sight I never thought I would see. I hope I never do again.
Washington is on lockdown as our country is on edge. From elected officials to business leaders to the mainstream media, Americans are losing faith in institutions that govern our lives. That trust deficit is only growing. All the while, the coronavirus pandemic takes an unimaginable human toll. The number of cases and deaths continue to reach record highs, ravaging our country and especially our communities of color.
Against this backdrop, Joe Biden is about to become our next president. The immediate agenda before him is daunting. A decade ago, he issued the oath of office swearing me into the Senate. I know he is a decent man with a good heart. We did not see eye to eye on every issue, but he is someone with an open mind who wants to find compromise. He knows how to disagree without being disagreeable, and he knows where and how to find common ground.
He does not have all the answers, and he does not pretend to. Last November, he earned the most votes of any candidate for president in our history. He won the election fairly. All Americans, regardless of political party, should be pulling for him. His success is all of our collective success. The partisan fever has to break. The temperature must come down. A recent Axios Ipsos poll showed that around 80 percent of Americans, both Republicans and Democrats, believe our country is falling apart.
During my time in public service, I have been privileged to wear many hats. My journey has taken me around the world, from Beacon Hill to Capitol Hill to New Zealand and back again. I found myself among heads of states in fancy parliament buildings and weekend warriors competing in triathlons at the bottom of lakes.
If there is one thing I learned from it all, it is we have more in common than we might realize. We are all human beings with similar hopes, dreams, and fears. Even living almost 10,000 miles away in New Zealand, it was not hard to find similar interests.
As our country enters a new chapter, let us all come together respectfully. We could all learn a great deal from Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill, who came from different political parties but treated each other with decency and found common ground after hours as individuals. The laundry list of challenges will not get better with angry social media posts or overheated cable news hits. Now is the time to come together, as Americans, and move our country forward.
Opinion piece originally posted on The Hill.