An Appeal to President Biden
Dear President-elect Biden:
The country is divided, and I am confident that you can help.
I met you in 2009. You had come to Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, where I was serving with the NATO force. After your speech, you agreed to an interview. As a member of the task force public affairs section, I lobbed some questions at you while my battle-buddy rolled the tape.
You were warm, friendly, and gracious.
That description is consistent with many others I have read.
We could really use a warm, friendly, gracious president right now.
In the interest of full disclosure, I did not vote for you this past November. But I also recognize that you won the election.
As a soldier, I am prepared to follow the leaders appointed (or elected) over me. Serving in the military has been a blessing and has deepened my appreciation for our institutions.
America is resilient. Our system of government has proven to be remarkably stable and adaptive. It is the best in the world for ensuring liberty, rights, and helping all to reach their greatest potential.
Our institutions work because of the social contract whereby citizens do their part to support those institutions, while our civic leaders act responsibly to affirm the legitimacy of them.
The social contract is coming apart.
Please help mend it.
You have an extraordinary opportunity to fulfill the obligations you made during your campaign while growing your base of support. Americans, I believe, are ready to work together to move forward.
We are tired of the strife.
President Trump had a similar opportunity, but he squandered it. And he lost.
I did not vote for Trump either, so it might be a bit easier for me to recognize that he has made serious mistakes and miscalculations. That is in the past, but it is your moment now.
As president-elect, please take a win. You don’t need to appeal to the fringes.
More than 78 million Americans voted for someone other than you. Still, many of us are ready for a leader who wants to speak for all Americans.
Please don’t dismiss us.
There are also many on the far right who do not want to give you a chance to succeed. They believe you think of them as stupid, or racist, or worse.
Please prove them wrong.
Finally, there are many who supported you, hoping they could push you to the extreme of your party. They want someone who will drive a minority agenda.
Please resist the temptation.
I believe I speak for many who, like me, love this country more than any party or ideology. We are eager to see the United States be a place where everyone can find opportunity and participate in politics to the degree they feel inclined. This won’t happen if we continue to be so polarized.
We need a president who represents the middle.
Though we only briefly met, the qualities that I detected when we spoke in that moment in an aircraft hangar in Kosovo would indicate a person of great character.
I hope that is your character.
Please stay true to that.