When Biden says, ‘America is back,’ what does that mean?
One of the ongoing challenges the Democratic Party has is in how it messages its policy views to many disenfranchised, largely Republican voters. The depiction that the doctrine of “America First” is the antithesis of multinationalism, and that with the election of Joe Biden it is now abandoned, is a flawed narrative (”Biden on his team: ‘America is back’ “ Page A2, Nov. 25).
The question is not whether the goals for America are to make it first or not. The question is which policies actually support America’s best interests and heighten its ability to be first, by supporting economic stability and enhancing innovation in a world market, by supporting actions (treaties and maintaining bonds with allies) that diminish the possibility of war, by coordinating resources to avoid world catastrophes (for example, global warming and pandemic), among other advantages.
The case can be made readily that a multinational, non-isolationist policy comes closest to the goals of Republicans and Democrats alike in making America first.
“America is back, ready to lead the world,” says President-elect Biden. Is it necessary that we sit at the head of the table? Can we not simply be a partner to the world community? The Biden appointments reflect once again the American obsession with our self-proclaimed exceptionalism. We seem to have great difficulty subordinating our ego to the expertise of the rest of the world. Let’s cooperate, not dominate.
At polling places in two Maine towns, election workers saw model of citizenship
Re “Foreign observers rue chaos in US” (Page A4, Nov. 25): While voicing concerns about our presidential election, international observers quoted in the article praise election workers for their dedication: “It was a strong democracy among the people, and election workers, to make this right and let their voices be heard.” This jibes with our experience.
On Election Day, we worked as Democratic Party observers in two Western Maine towns, both of which voted overwhelmingly Republican. One, with about 2,000 voters, had voting machines. The smaller town, with 650, had a secure wooden box, and votes were counted by hand.
In both towns, the election officials, clerks, wardens, and volunteers, Republicans and Democrats, worked professionally, cooperatively, and strenuously to conduct a fair and COVID-safe election. The team with machines put in a 14-hour day. The team with the ballot box worked into the next morning.
In a time that feels like a cold civil war, these fellow feelings across political differences by people doing their civic duty was a warm ray of hope. In the town office and school gym on Nov. 3, we saw the power of active, responsible citizenship. Given our tense, divisive, and sometimes threatening political atmosphere, these poll workers were also modeling courage.
The road ahead will be bumpy at best. Watching events unfold, mostly on screens, won’t do. We have to figure out more ways for more of us to engage with one another, hopefully in person, around common purpose.
David J. Weinstein