Now that adults are back in charge…

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One Republican president got us into the war in Afghanistan, and another set the terms of our hasty retreat. But as always, it was a Democrat who had the courage to actually wield the mop.

President Biden reminded us what leadership looks like when he acknowledged a deeply flawed withdrawal, taking ownership of a difficult but inescapable command decision. It was a welcome change from the childish tweet storm we might have experienced not so long ago.

For all of the howling from critics, nobody is actually surprised that the Taliban has retaken control of the country, only that it happened so quickly. Ultimately, democracy means standing back and letting the people define their own form of government. For all our best ideals and intentions, we can only hope to set an example. We cannot build it for them.

And our shining city on a hill has become tarnished and blighted these past four years, as we inexplicably handed our collective future over to an infantile conman who gleefully derided our best traditions of impartial justice, human rights, separation of church and state, and free and fair elections and the peaceful transfer of power. No treaty was sacrosanct; no ally was recognized; no crime was punished.

   

So let us turn our focus to building our own house back better. Now is the time to redouble our nation’s founding commitment to human dignity by protecting voting rights of our citizens, amnesty rights of asylum seekers at our borders, and economic opportunity for all. Justice must be served in our courtrooms and never in our streets. Donate our surplus vaccines to any country that will use them. And most importantly, we must all, individually and collectively, rejoin the global climate imperative with a vengeance. American exceptionalism need not be merely aspirational, now that the adults are back in charge.

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