The people of the United States have spoken: Joseph R. Biden Jr. will be the 46th president of our 244-year-old democracy.
The people have spoken: For the first time in our history, a woman is vice president-elect. For the first time in our history, a woman of color — her parents are immigrants from Jamaica and India — will hold the nation’s second-highest office.
Let us pause to reflect on this astonishing moment in history.
And then there’s this reality. The people have spoken — but not with one voice.
Biden won the popular vote with a record 74.4 million, as of Saturday. But let’s not forget that President Donald J. Trump gathered 70.3 million votes. That is not insignificant.
President Trump is challenging the counting of votes in several states, as is his right. Let the legal system sort out the process. We do not believe widespread, unsubstantiated, fraud led to his defeat. Whether it was his policies or his personality, he was not the choice by most Americans to be their leader for another four years.
This is a harsh repudiation for the man who attracted enthusiastic thousands to his rallies, even during the pandemic.
But the vote was not the landslide Democrats hoped for.
A substantial portion of the population of our country sees Trump as the better equipped person to lead through the next four years, and their perspective cannot be ignored.
The divide is great, the challenge to unite these 50 states even greater. But that’s what is called for in the weeks, months, and years ahead.
President-elect Biden embodies the dignity and compassion this country needs to move forward. He needs to represent the country as a whole, not just those who invested their trust in a vote.
In Connecticut, a reliably blue state, we could feel vindicated in the outcome of this presidential election. Biden won our state and its seven electoral college votes. (Not enough to change an outcome, but we still count them proudly.) Gov. Ned Lamont was an early supporter of Biden, and that likely won’t be overlooked. Biden knows our state: His son Hunter attended Yale University (at the encouragement of now-U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro).
This is a big ask — differences have grown ever more rancorous in recent months — the way forward is up to each of us. Look for our common ground.
Are we not all affected by the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 237,000 of our fellow Americans, so far, and is surging anew this fall? Are we not all impacted by the economic upheaval, caused in no small part by the pandemic? Are we not all responsible for examining the racial and economic inequalities underlying our society? With record hurricanes and wildfires threatening lives, are we not all facing dire environmental consequences of inaction?
Are we not all in this together?
Let us move forward as a country, united. Let us be our best.