A bit of optimism, such as President Biden is trying to instill, is in the national interest. It is something that should be enhanced for the single overarching reason that America needs to show the world that it still has the moral strength and the sheer gumption to emerge stronger from a crisis that has sapped its proud national spirit. Both parties should share the political and moral imperative of proving that America is far more dedicated to the heritage of its democratic institutions than to flimsy slogans such as MAGA. The Republican Party would do well to think of the national interest in combating the despicable campaign by China to disparage the U.S. rather than rejecting out of hand the efforts of the Biden administration to win the battle against the pandemic by accelerating the national vaccination campaign and by putting real money in the pockets of American families.
For many years, the Chinese government and intellectuals have diagnosed the American political and economic decline. In the past year, the Chinese campaign to depict the economic downturn of the United States as proof of its loss of national power went into high gear after the mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The spokespersons of the Chinese Communist Party sing a constant refrain: the United States is a broken society while China is achieving great power status.
If there was a time for Americans to listen to the bully pulpit of the American presidency, this is certainly now, at a time when the large majority of Americans are beginning to share the belief that the government should do more to help those who are struggling. It is happening and it is becoming apparent when 93% of America’s children are receiving cash benefits. It is indeed welcome news that the stimulus blitz receives strong overall support. On the other hand, Americans have yet to pass a big test: the healthy majority of the nation must rediscover confidence in institutions and the normalcy that they provide. The search for normalcy must override the generational divide, the partisan belligerency in the Congress and the obdurate attempt of the Republican Party to maintain power by suppressing the minority vote. Most importantly, it is time for faith in the competence of the federal government and for the shared sacrifices invoked by President Biden. Competence is a fundamental ingredient in the revival of institutions. It was sheer incompetence that prevailed when the previous administration first downplayed the virus and then passed the responsibility of dealing with it to the states that were woefully unprepared. The federal effort to implement a crusade for rapid vaccinations has already produced a strong increase in public sentiment around the vaccine. Americans should still accept personal sacrifices to support the return to normalcy. But there is finally sunshine at the end of a “dark winter.”