Turning the page

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Transition desperately needed from nation’s Jan. 6 low point

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  • Kurt Johnson
    Kurt Johnson
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America turned the page to a new chapter in its history last week, a political transition unlike any before it.
A week after the changing of the guard, the temperature has been lowered considerably in Washington, which comes as welcome relief to a nation pushed dangerously close to the brink. The juxtaposition of images captured on the same Capitol steps just two weeks apart, Jan. 6 and Inauguration Day Jan. 20, is so remarkably different it’s as if those scenes unfolded in two different worlds.
They didn’t, obviously. It all happened on one site, in front of a mesmerized global audience, in a United States currently far from united. We needed to turn that page, and quickly.
Looking back, Jan. 6 felt like 911 in some respects as it played out in real time. You knew as you were watching the images unfold that this was one of those days that will live in infamy. That level of heat and hysteria simply could not continue, under any circumstances.
The day could have been so much deadlier and so much worse, we know now in hindsight, though the details of what was apparently a planned attack are still not crystal clear. The temperature had been rising since Election Day and finally reached its boiling point.
To be clear, the issue of election fraud or irregularities needs to be fully vetted for this page turning to be final. If mail-in voting is in fact found to be unreliable to any degree in any state, changes must be made. The American experiment simply does not work without a safe, secure and trusted system of choosing our elected representatives going forward.
For now, thankfully, the baton has been passed and we listen closely to a new administration taking our nation down a very different path. We should be accustomed to these philosophical and political transitions every four or eight years, though this time is different if for no other reason than the citizenry is clearly more engaged. 
That can be a good thing, if we let it, if we can find our way back to a place where people can agree to disagree, and where ideas have merit based on their content rather than which side of the aisle proposed them. It’s one thing to be passionate and loyal about your politics, but it’s something else entirely when people grow hesitant to bring up current events among friends, family, neighbors or for that matter complete strangers for fear of driving a wedge somewhere it doesn’t belong. We needed to turn that page.
President Joe Biden pledged unity in our nation, and he now has the opportunity to deliver on that promise.
Kurt Johnson

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