We call ourselves the United States of America, but that seldom has been so.
We supposedly are the land of the red, white and blue but these days we are either blue or red.
As our recent presidential election vividly and starkly revealed, the gulf between one set of Americans and another has calcified into a yawning chasm. Each side lives in its own reality. Aided and abetted by selective reading of social media and television viewing, Americans take a piece of make-believe and will it into their reality.
Now it will be Joe Biden’s job to narrow that divide. Indeed, he ran on a message of healing a ruptured nation and now my message to him is: Good luck, Joe.
Making America whole again is a tougher balancing act than doing the tango in a canoe. Biden will have to be the Farmer of the Century to cross breed two seeds that grew on opposite sides of a wall.
America has become a squirrel cage, with two distinct camps fighting for its soul in the midst of a pandemic and an economic crisis. It seemingly is hopeless.
Nothing stabs so straight at what is weak in a nation, and bleeds it so pale, as an absence of hope.
Fortunately, Joe Biden is known for his bottomless empathy to provide hope. He will bring that empathy along with diplomacy and decency to the White House, a startling 180 degrees from the corrosive and divisive brand of politics practiced by Donald Trump.
Biden faces a monumental task in trying to build bridges between the Right and the Left, the Red and the Blue, the Intractable and the Entrenched. Politics is a body-splattering, meat wagon game where you can walk on the lumps of shrapnel bursting around you.
If Republicans retain control of the Senate, Mitch McConnell likely will put up a wall of obstruction, putting partisanship over progress.
Fortunately, Biden has four decades of Senate experience and perhaps he can make the most out of a divided government. Otherwise we will be paralyzed by gridlock.
Division is the most loathsome word these days in our democracy. Americans have many enemies. Fellow Americans should not be among them.
Mike Zielinski, a resident of Berks County, is a columnist, novelist, playwright and screenwriter.