And exhale.

President Biden took the oath of office on the proscribed day just as presidents have been doing every four years since 1789. It was a little dicey this time but democracy held serve. Now it’s time to move forward.

That won’t be easy. We’ve fallen out of the habit of cooperating, choosing instead to go for the jugular over pretty much everything. While our new president has some very big agenda items, including immigration, healthcare, the economy, the environment, foreign policy and the out-of-control pandemic, my advice would be to start small.

Baby steps, Joe.

America needs to relearn the art of compromise while recovering from political PTSD. With that in mind, here are a few  most Americans would gladly support.

1) Pull the plug on the president’s pardon powers. Our previous president handed “get out of jail free” cards to a host of undeserving political pals and friends of friends and there’s not a thing we can do about it. Just like 20 years ago when Bill Clinton pardoned the ginormous, unrepentant tax cheat, Marc Rich. The pardon power is an archaic holdover from the divine right of kings. It is an absolute power with no checks or balances.

2) Executive orders are out of order. The U.S. Constitution says legislation originates in the House and Senate. For decades, congress has allowed the executive branch to usurp their legislative authority by issuing an ever-expanding number of executive orders. In 2012, President Obama infamously said, “If Congress won’t act, I will,” ignoring that Congress’ refusal to act on DACA was their action. President Trump moved to undo Obama’s DACA order, and now President Biden will undo Trump’s undoing.  The nation should not be whiplashed from administration to administration by executive orders. Congress needs to legislate, and if the president doesn’t like it, too bad. Work harder.

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3) Finish off the filibuster. Here’s another relic that serves no good purpose. The Senate’s filibuster rule empowers a single senator to gum up the works, often for purely self-serving reasons. While the filibuster seemed heroic in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”, there aren’t many Jimmy Stewarts in today’s Senate.

4) Infinite infrastructure is the easiest way to get left and right singing Kumbaya. Fiscal responsibility? Oh, please! Is that your dinosaur parked outside? Everybody loves spending other people’s money, so spend it, but spend it on stuff we actually need. Rebuild America’s roads and bridges, damns and water systems. Instead of California’s crazy train, build light rail to everywhere so we end gridlock and help clean the air. If a Republican congressman wants a post office named for his cousin, give it to him. If a Democrat wants a homeless shelter in someone else’s neighborhood, what do you care? Nobody ever lost friends spending taxpayer money. Open the check book and create real jobs in America, jobs with lasting value.



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