A practising Catholic, the new president of the US sees his faith as a key to reunite the country and overcome all divisions.
PUBLISHED ONJan 2021
Joe Biden, the second Catholic president in the history of the United States, quoted the biblical book of Ecclesiastes in his victory speech, saying that “there is a time for everything, a time to build up, a time to sow and a time to heal. Now, the time has come to heal America.”
The newly-elected president has taken upon himself the daunting task of healing the wounds of division in American society. This will be a long term job requiring the participation of all sectors including those who feel most disenfranchised.
The results of the presidential elections showed a divided country. This is the outcome of Donald Trump’s four-year administration which polarized the nation to his own political advantage.
The old adage “divide and rule” whereby rulers gain and maintain power by dividing the society applies well to the manner Trump governed the US.
The former president’s support of white supremacists and alleged racism alienated the black electorate. Recurrent episodes of police brutality against black citizens stirred the uprising of the Black Lives Matter movement that came out to the streets protesting against systemic racism and social inequalities.
That is why Black Americans voted for Joe Biden hoping that his administration will finally heed their grievances and offer solutions to the ingrained discrimination they suffer from.
Trump’s anti-migration policies, the withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, and the loss of American prestige in the world stage dissatisfied large chunks of the American electorate.
The election of Kamala D. Harris is a landmark event as she became the first woman and Black, South Asian American to be elected vice-president of the US. Her background and professional achievements resonate with minority groups and women in particular.
Catholics were split between the two contestants, with 50% voting for Biden and the remaining 49% voting for Trump. Critics point out Biden’s support for legal abortion. This will put him in a collision course with bishops. However, he will partner with them in issues of social doctrine of the Church. The concern for the common good, human dignity, care of creation and preferential option for the poor are amongst his favourite concerns in politics and governance.
A practising Catholic, the new president of the US sees his faith as a key to reunite the country and overcome all divisions. American Catholics have a special duty to promote fraternity and build up mutual trust in this historical moment.