Joe Biden has been inaugurated as our 46th President. The roughly half of people who were thrilled four years ago aren’t so thrilled right now. The roughly half of people who were bummed out in January, 2017, are visibly a little more upbeat. While opinions on the new administration vary, here are my hopes for Joe Biden’s presidency:

I Hope He is Consistent

The repudiation of those who invaded the Capitol is widespread and justified, and should continue to be so. Joe Biden also quickly condemned the violence born out of social justice protests in the summer of 2020. As unrest will surely continue during seasons of his presidency, I hope he will be consistently consistent. One of the things Americans need to see is a politician who is willing to critique their own “side.” Whether it’s protestors gone wild, legislative issues, or how others in his party treat and talk about the other side of the aisle, we would go a long way in this country if we had a consistent voice speaking out based on values, not based on convenient political strategy.

I Hope He Listens

Again — the condemnation of those who invaded the Capitol is warranted. That’s true. Also true — there are millions and millions of people in this country who are not conspiracy theory adherent, not riotous, and not right-wing extremists. They just feel ignored, under-appreciated, and passed over. In this way, there are many rural reaches of our country who have the same lived experience as many in our inner cities. Anyone who doesn’t acknowledge this has probably not spent any time in rural America. I hope Joe Biden can really listen to the felt needs and enact policies that are helpful to these communities, and not in a way that seeks to manipulate a voting bloc — in a way that really aims to help people.

I Hope He Helps Us Not Waste Suffering

With racial injustices leaving deep scars on communities of color and with the pandemic still not reigned in, we need to learn from our collective suffering. As someone who has personally suffered greatly, President Biden can help translate some of that into a deepening awareness of and kindness toward one another. I’m a firm believer that we should never waste a good suffering. I hope Biden leads us in that.

I Hope He Remains Unapologetically Moderate

People who postulate that President Biden is part of the radical left don’t know much about his record. While the left flank of his party will push him hard, I hope he resists the urge to acquiesce. I don’t think it’s good for the country to do the pendulum swing to the opposite extreme. It may be that in three years we will see a campaign between a more progressive candidate and someone on the right. So be it. We need a few years that aren’t as polarized. I think he can achieve valuable progress without going too far. I think that’s who President Biden is. I hope he stays that way.

I Hope He Keeps Talking About Faith

The first thing our new President did on his inauguration day was go to church. There may be policy differences between myself and Joe Biden, but by all accounts he is entirely sincere in his faith. He never held back on the campaign trail in talking about faith, and I hope that continues. There are seasons where presidential machismo and confidence have served us well (this was a unifying force post-9/11). Hope was a unifying force when President Obama took office. We joined forces around his aspirational leadership. I think faith is the right word, the right idea, the right practice, to guide us forward in these next four years. We need to have faith in God to guide us, we need to have faith in one another, and we need to have faith in our institutions. I hope President Biden keeps talking about faith.

I Hope We Give Him a Chance

Four years ago, my progressive friends were hashtagging #NotMyPresident, there were marches in Washington protesting Trump’s election, and I read news articles about how he wouldn’t make it to his 100th day in office. There is a political commentary industry in our country that lives on dissent. It drives web traffic and Nielsen ratings. When a conservative is in office, progressive outlets rage (see: Trump years). When a liberal is in office, conservative outlets rage (see: Obama years). They will do it again.

But for us regular people, I hope we can resist the impulse to join them. To my conservative friends — recognize that if the progressive reaction in 2016/2017 was wrong, then it is wrong to react in the same way this time. To quote the recently inaugurated President:

To all those who did not support us, let me say this: Hear me out as we move forward. Take a measure of me and my heart. And if you still disagree, so be it. That’s democracy. That’s America. The right to dissent peaceably, within the guardrails of our Republic, is perhaps our nation’s greatest strength. Yet hear me clearly: Disagreement must not lead to disunion. And I pledge this to you: I will be a President for all Americans. I will fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did.

Time will tell if he means those things. I hope he does. And I hope he really listens to the needs of those who disagree with him.

And I hope we give him the chance to do that.


Featured Photo: Alex Brandon / Pool Photo

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