Many, many words and thoughts are reverberating through my head as I reflect on the results of last week's presidential election. Last night, as I sat in front of the television listening to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris address the nation, I was overtaken by emotion that I didn't realize I had. All politics aside, our first female vice president and a victory for a lifelong civil servant committed to unifying the nation moved me to tears.
This unexpected emotion came because a few days earlier on Election Day, I had resolved that regardless of the outcome, our nation was broken and that in order to heal we would need to go through a reconciliation process, while actively seeking ways to unite our citizens and rejuvenate the American spirit of resilience, innovation and freedom.
The tragic deaths, illness, and financial ruin caused by COVID-19 has dampened all of our spirits; some people have been desensitized to the suffering this global pandemic has caused and others have wounds that are raw, visible and deep. The time for us to come together to end the suffering is absolutely right now. This historic election is our wake-up call to end the divisiveness and unite around a plan that will eradicate the virus, heal our nation, and protect us from future pandemics.
The U.S. has the opportunity to activate its spirit of innovation and free itself from the burden of this disease. We are resilient, pioneering people with a history of creating solutions to the most complex problems known to man and of resolving conflicts between ourselves and other nations. I believe that once the dust settles and we move past the politics of an election and truly get to work on addressing the public health crisis before us, the U.S. will lead the global efforts to fight COVID-19 while restoring not just our economy, but our faith in the human spirit and person-kind.
Biden's comments that included all Americans, whether they were in red or blue states, Black, Latino or from the LGBTIA community were inspiring. For too long, we've let some of our fellow citizens endure subpar healthcare because of where they live, who they are or who they love. The pandemic has laid bare these inquities and we have all been worse for the wear because of it.
In this new era, we must unite around a bipartisan plan to build a strong public health infrastructure, address the current gaps in healthcare access and coverage, and eliminate disparities in health outcomes. We must activate our ability to work together to build a stronger, more perfect union. We must rejuvenate our sense of diplomacy, our true compassion for one another, and our faith.
Congratulations to Biden and Harris for making history and having the courage to lead us through this pandemic. Today, the celebrations end and the work must begin. The time is now for us to collaborate, so we can get to the other side.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not represent the official policy or position of Henry Ford Health System.