America: A shinning city again – Frank F Islam
WITH the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States, America is closing one of the darkest and saddest chapters in its history and opening a new one filled with hope and optimism. The swearing-in of the former vice president and senator at noon on Wednesday will herald new dawn not just in the United States, but the world as well.
The destructive nature of Trump’s presidency has been well-documented by the U.S. and international media. To name just a few of his transgressions during the four years he has been at the White House: •Trump reversed many of the major gains the country had made in race relations, •Actively discouraged immigration, upon which the country was built, especially from the non-European countries, •Rolled back more than a hundred environmental regulations, •Waged a non-stop war against the country’s institutions including the press and •Pulled the United States out of landmark global treaties and organizations such as Paris Climate Agreement and the World Health Organization and largely abandoning America’s global leadership, allowing countries such as Russia and China to fill that vacuum.
Finally, on his way out of the Oval Office, Trump refused to acknowledge the results of a free and fair election that he lost decisively. Unlike his predecessors, he did not facilitate a peaceful transfer of power, even encouraging his followers to stage an insurrection. In a nutshell, he is leaving office with the country deeply divided. Despite receiving early warnings about Covid-19, Trump ignored the pandemic at the beginning and then underplayed it even after it began killing hundreds of thousands of Americans. The President worried that stock markets will tank if he takes aggressive measures to tackle the virus.
The new administration’s first day initiatives are An ambitious coronavirus recovery package and a flurry of executive orders that will reverse many of Trump’s controversial executive orders. Three such executive Orders are re-entering the Paris climate agreement and joining the world health organization and the repeal of the so-called Muslim ban. We are also likely to see a number of coronavirus-related policies such as a mask mandate, expansion of COVID testing and a stay on evictions and foreclosures of people that have fallen behind in paying rent and mortgage. The Biden Administration will be tackling Covid on a war footing and he has already surrounded himself with prominent experts and scientists. Similarly, domestic and foreign policy and national security teams that Biden has put together are among the most experienced and talented.
They are ready for the United States to, once again, assume the global leadership it held for more than a century.
The country will rejoin the Paris Agreement on climate change, rejoin the World Health Organization and a series of other international accords and treaties Trump had exited. It will also rebuild the bridge with its NATO partners. It will once again take an active role internationally, dealing with issues that are important to the future of all the countries of the world. There is no doubt that the Biden Presidency will bring a wave of change to global politics and policies.
In his farewell speech 32 years ago, a Republican President referred to America as “a shining city on a hill,” a metaphor he had used to describe the country throughout his eight-year presidency. Ronald Reagan, who was then engaged in a Cold War with the Soviet Union, always saw America as a force for good. Ironically, it is that vision of America as a force for good that Trump — who came to power promising to “make America great again “— destroyed in 1,461 days. Biden, a 39-year-old Senator when Reagan entered the White House, is now ready to make America a force for good again and revive the construct of the nation as a “shining city on a hill.”