Americans have spoken at the polls, and in 70 days, Joe Biden will be our country’s president.
When historians review the last four years in America, there will be much to document and look back on. The polarity that has gripped our nation has created political and social divides that are not easily repaired. At the heart of this divide is the battle for the truth, and full transparency. And with COVID-19 still raging, we are a sicker and poorer country than we were just 12 months ago. This week’s report that a vaccine may soon be on the horizon is good news but even after it is administered, it will take years before tens of millions of Americans are back on their feet.
Mirroring their support for Hillary Clinton four years ago, more than 70 percent of American Jews voted for Biden. American Jewish voters anguished over the future of democracy and told pollsters that their main priorities were domestic, with 54 percent listing the COVID-19 pandemic as their top priority, followed by climate change, healthcare and the economy. Just 5 percent of American Jews listed Israel as their top voting priority – down from 9 percent in 2016.
Still, the divide among Jews is palpable. At least one-quarter of American Jews endorsed Donald Trump’s vision of “America First.” For many of those Trump voters, the president’s record on Israel was paramount and they pointed to Trump’s accomplishments such as tearing up the Iran nuclear agreement, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the U.S. embassy there; recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and brokering peace deals between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.
There will be no magic moment when the divide disappears. At best, the anger and distrust will be tempered by a new president who has committed to representing all Americans, and believes that the country cannot heal until firm policies are in place to deal with the coronavirus and the economy.
“The Bible tells us to everything there is a season, a time to build, a time to reap and a time to sow. And a time to heal. This is the time to heal in America,” Joe Biden declared in his victory speech on Saturday.
Let us heed these words, and contemplate how best to heal America. Our choice of political party does not wholly define us. As we move forward, our acts and speech can help unify us. For the greater good of our nation, let us seize this opportunity to treat all Americans with respect and honesty.