Is it my imagination or is the sun shining just a little brighter this morning? Does the air smell a bit sweeter? 

We all have said — repeatedly — that this election was the most consequential of our lifetimes. It was. 

This poll wasn’t just about the character of the candidates, though character does lie at the heart of this. I know that I am just one of millions of Americans who longed for a return to decency, civility, and respect. I am one of the millions who wanted an end the name-calling, bullying, discrimination and division, and racism and misogyny. 

I’m one of millions who believe that the rule of law matters, that respect for our constitution is not optional, and that none of us, no matter our office or bank accounts, are above the law.  

All this and more was on the ballot this past week. We chose, and we chose well. I have hope once more for our nation.

Kamala Harris last night quoted the late Congressman and civil rights icon, John Lewis. He said, “Our democracy is only as strong as our willingness to fight for it.”  Well, as we all know, and as Kamala said, democracy was on the ballot and our nation’s soul was a stake. This week we ushered in a new day for America. And we should be proud.

Am I concerned about the future? Of course. You have to be wearing blinders not to be concerned. The problems before us are so daunting, so challenging, and so dangerous to our futures and our society, that we have to be worried. 

The pandemic threatens our health and our economy. It could take the lives of those we love and the economic impact may leave the most vulnerable doomed to struggle for years. Climate change is a threat that we have left unchecked for far too long. If the systemic racism that plagues our nation goes unaddressed our democratic polity could be damaged beyond repair. 

If we don’t find a way to bring health care to all, to more equitably address the distribution of wealth, if we don’t create an America where the number of families going hungry grows rather than declines — if we don’t at least TRY to honor the dream that has defined us, we will ultimately fail as a nation no matter who is at the helm.

The problems are huge indeed, and who knows if we can if solve them. But the removal of Trump is the essential first step and — whether he accepts the realities of the election results or not — that decision has been made. So yes. The sun shines brighter and my heart is lighter than it has been in so very, very long.

Even though I was confident about Biden’s victory after four days of following each shift of the vote totals across the battleground states, I was still so incredibly relieved when the word came: Joseph R. Biden is the President-elect of the United States of America. The fear, anger, despair and disgust that have been almost constant companions for the past four years didn’t know where to go as hope and promise and joy crowded in. I was reminded again about just how invested I have become in speaking to, and caring about these fundamental values that matter so very, very much. 

Going forward, while I will still worry about the future, I hope it will be a future we will face together. I hope that even if my grandchildren will be forced to face the challenges we bequeath them, they will at least be dealing with them in a world in which division and bigotry and discord are not words we associate with our leaders. I hope that they will live in a world where our nation stands up to despots and dictators rather than embracing them, and a world where we work in partnership with allies demonstrating in every way our commitment to decency, to human rights, and to building a world that works for us all.

Leadership matters. It can transform, it can inspire, it can uplift. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris did that last night. 

Joe said that this is the time to heal. It is. He said that we need to bring to bear the forces of decency, of fairness, of science and, of hope in the great battles of our time that confront us. Those are forces I can get behind. That is the hope that fills me. 

So let us believe in, and let us demand for our nation: 

Truth over lies,

Unity over division,

Love over hate,

Facts over fiction.

Biden over Trump.

Such a good way to start a week.

Stay strong, stay safe, stay healthy.

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