Editorial: Could this be a moment for true bipartisanship?
"I am shocked and saddened that our nation, so long a beacon of light, hope and democracy, has come to such a dark moment." -- President-Elect Joe Biden.
"We cannot simply declare ourselves a national board of elections on steroids. The voters, the courts, and the states have all spoken. If we overrule them, it would damage our republic forever. -- U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell
"There's a lot that's broken in this country but not anything that's so big that the American people can't rebuild it." -- U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse
From the inspiring way U.S. Senators spoke during the wee hours Thursday morning as they worked to confirm the electoral votes that eventually made Joe Biden the next President of the United States, one might think a truce could be at hand.
Admittedly, senators were exhausted and more than a little shellshocked and angry over the events of the previous day. And yet, all that eloquent talk about preserving the Constitution in a time of crisis, and all but six Republican senators choosing to forgo their objections to the certification, may indicate a honeymoon of sorts between the Democrats -- who are about to hold most of the cards in Washington -- and the Republicans, who went bust Tuesday night in Georgia.
Because when the shock of the Trump era starts to wear off and the governing begins, there are going to be two urgent jobs -- speeding up vaccine delivery across the nation immediately; and formulating aggressive plans to bring back the nation's economy.
Democrats know these kinds of political advantages don't last long; they could lose both the Senate and the House as soon as the 2022 midterms.
So, Biden takes office with two options: Push the pedal to metal to get his agenda accomplished in two years; or, try to collaborate now in hopes that the non-Trump faction will ultimately prevail in the GOP, and they'll return the favor when things are on the other foot.
If ever there were a moment for collaboration in these horrifically partisan times, this seems to be it. So we would hope Biden chooses both options -- puts a priority on trying to collaborate, but also uses an aggressive timetable in trying to move his generally moderate agenda forward.
To be clear, there is no common cause to be made with the most rabid Trump supporters, for whom overturning the election with violence is obviously an option, and who cannot be humored.
But getting both the vaccine and the economy moving -- and yes, finally getting infrastructure improvements off the dime -- require the best minds and the best political powers of persuasion. The Democrats may not need Republican colleagues to pass all their legislation, but they will need Republican support to govern effectively and wisely.
And it's the latter objective that Americans are desperate for. We're sick to death of the kind of rhetoric that resulted in Wednesday's desecration of the U.S. Capitol, four deaths and the terrorizing of legislators, staff and reporters.
From that terrible scene could come an actual opportunity to unite much of this country behind the basic objectives of fair play and good governance.
"This isn't us; this isn't who we are," said Biden and Lindsay Graham and Mitch McConnell and a dozen other Republicans and Democrats Wednesday night.
We can agree on that much, apparently. It's not a bad place to start.