Commentary: Empathy as patriotism

By Keith C. Burris, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on

Published in Political News

In an immediate and measurable way, mostly not.

Biden says he wants us to heal. I doubt the left or right are ready to try.

He wants an era of good feeling in Washington — on the Hill and between the parties. This will not happen on things like a Green New Deal. But it is possible on things like infrastructure and Social Security reform and maybe even immigration. It was always possible. Cooperation happens every day in Washington, on the lesser stages.

One key to Biden's success will be his Cabinet and sub-Cabinet. (And the first signs are comforting.) If he picks mostly old pros and pragmatists, a lot can get done. If he goes all woke and precious and tries to create another New Deal or Great Society, Washington's dysfunction will only deepen.

For we don't really need new programs and "answers" and initiatives and taxes. We need something far more important — something a president can help us achieve. We need a restoration of values, and faith in those values.

Here Biden can make a difference.


The model is not FDR, but Dwight Eisenhower.

Let us rest and renew ourselves.

Give us a break from politics and the presidency. Be the president, Joe Biden. But also let the country be.

If you travel the country's back roads as I just did for a few days, you see that America is still intact. Families still take care of each other, teachers still turn on the lightbulb in students' minds, people still hunt, and fish, and watch football, and cook, and work on old cars, and pray on their knees on Sundays.


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