Opinion: Urging leaders to build "more than hope, we must build means"

Illustration on American unity
Illustration on American unityDonna Grethen

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” — Abraham Lincoln

It is not necessarily productive to reminisce about the past rather than to focus and proceed on into the present. Though considering what we’ve been through, some lessons could well be learned; that some men cannot withstand adversity at all and given power become crazed.

Certainly we would’ve escaped much if Hillary Clinton had been elected, and formed an administration of strength and resilience, which she was certainly prepared for and capable of. Still it would not necessarily have been adequate to the tasks involved, had she not developed a wider vision, conveyed it more effectively and spared us her banking speeches. But she would have spared us the agony of trying to remain in office illegally.

It’s not that she wouldn’t have made mistakes but they likely would have been more specific and circumscribed rather than colossal. Though she might not have been able to prevent the deaths of thousands from COVID-19, she certainly would not have ignored the deaths of hundreds of thousands by belligerently refusing and degrading the applicable health sciences.

For other causes of our agony, we can nominate the grievances and resentments of the conspiracy fanatics of renegades who took it upon themselves to not only complain, which would have been reasonable, but to elect an idiot and then per his instructions, pursue him into the thuggery of a Capitol riot.

We are faced with a lame Congress constrained by a different kind of thuggery. One party is known as having a desire for stalling, maneuvers and lies to avoid delivering the least means of opportunities for everyone. It’s been bought out by inordinate wealth it prevents everyday people, now known as “the essentials,” from receiving the wealth that they create and have created.

With Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in place and cognizant, we may still not be prepared to develop the civic communities between corporate money and the nation state. These we will need to make amends and rectify the causes of the resentments and the reasonable protests. It will take these communities operating as civic juries of national policy throughout the nation, composed of all of us. Thus the means to cope with and reverse the flagrant disregard for people pushed by racism and disregard into poverty neighborhoods, jobs, and prisons, constantly pursued and denigrated as well as the others left alone and bereft in the rural areas.

As much as Biden and Harris have to do they must in addition find the time and means to develop a plan for those civic institutions. They will be essential for the sifting of ideas and actions to develop a stronger, better, more complete democracy than what we have had and may be losing. Organizations where everyone is involved and therefore responsible for the quality and substance of opportunity, which we all need and have been promised time and time again without a mechanism to achieve it.

We have just learned that as a nation we are not who we think we are and have already paid for it dearly. That we have in our midst people of a political party that operates only for their own wealth and power, nearly purposefully blind to inequality and any government by the people, for the people, not merely the titled.

And so on the basis of such we must build more than hope, we must build means.

James C. Whiteside is a Danbury resident.