As Joe Biden at age 78 expects to assume the presidency over this land of the free and home of the brave, it's indeed admirable that the first thing he's called for is unity in a nation as sharply divided as it's been since the Civil War.
Seeking unity at such a hyperpartisan time in this country is commendable and sorely needed. Who in their right mind would be promoting further division and suspicion of motives after all the politically engineered turmoil we've experienced over the past four years?
However, such a request could be a much greater challenge than Biden's appeal can overcome. Some 72 million American voters likely think that's bodaciously hypocritical. They recall all too well the calculated and relentless leftist resistance when Donald J. Trump was elected in 2016.
This sustained "resist at all costs" over the ensuing years meant the opposite of unifying our once United States.
Words, especially those spoken in political expediency, are far easier than the realities that actions invariably reveal.
Right now, the wounds from this election run deep (and are likely enduring) among those who voted for Trump. One anonymous Trump supporter expressed what I believe are the feelings of many on social media, reminding that Trump also issued an appeal for national unity upon his election and was overwhelmed with just the opposite.
The supporter further echoed that widespread attitude by reminding us specifically how congressional Democrats responded to that appeal by using "the greatest law enforcement institution of this country to spy on my President Trump's campaign."
And that observer was just warming up. "I remember how you and your Democratic Party created a fake Russian dossier to try and impeach my President Trump. I remember how your speaker of the House ripped up my President Trump's beautiful State of the Union speach [sic] on national TV. I remember how you and your Democratic Party tried to impeach my President Trump over a Ukraine phone call.
"You accused my President Trump of pay to play. Come to find out, Joe, it was really you and your son Hunter. I remember how you and your Democratic Party blamed my President Trump over a pandemic that he had nothing to do with.
"I remember how you and your Democratic Party encouraged rioting and looting of my great United States of America. I remember how you and your Democratic Party used the media to spread lie after lie about my President Trump. ...
"This Trump supporter remembers all that, Joe, and will not be unifying with your Democratic Party. This Trump supporter will be giving you the same respect you gave my President Trump."
I see this person's reaction as an example of how upset millions of Americans remain two weeks after the election and likely for years to come. The contention goes stronger than ever with so many suspicions of skulduggery bolstered by sworn affidavits from those claiming to have witnessed just that during their election assignments on Election Day.
A dissatisfied wag with a bloated vocabulary might say millions among us sincerely believe they've been bamboozled by the flabbergasted rigmarole and perceived shenanigans they feel certain had to have occurred in the election.
I believe half the population of these once United States have appreciated everything Trump achieved. That ranges from our high-flying pre-covid economy, pushing for improved overall conditions and employment opportunities for minorities, rebuilding our depleted military, a respect for the rule of law in this republic and law enforcement in general, standing up to China and Iran, reinforcing porous borders, embracing the Second Amendment, promoting religious freedoms, supporting Israel, etc., and don't favor suddenly reversing course and embracing AOC/Bernie Sanders-styled government control over their lives and freedoms.
Biden's appeal for unity at this point also comes as Hillary Clinton encouraged him pre-election to not concede under any circumstances. Sen. Chuck Schumer even vowed last week to "take Georgia and change America" should his party eke out paper-thin margins during two Senate runoffs in Georgia.
I don't interpret this troubled election, which saw Democrats and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi unexpectedly lose about 10 House Seats, as a national mandate for even further divisive ideological "changes" in this liberty-loving nation.
Yet, perhaps I'm overlooking something. But certainly, nothing in the results strikes me as a mandate toward embracing unspecified and radical "change."
Nonetheless, the concept of unifying us makes for positive political rhetoric and is certainly an honorable idea, even if flagrantly hypocritical.
Bottom line to me: May God have mercy on our deeply troubled nation.
Now go out into the world and treat everyone you meet exactly like you want them to treat you.
Mike Masterson is a longtime Arkansas journalist, was editor of three Arkansas dailies and headed the master's journalism program at Ohio State University. Email him at [email protected]