A Holiday Special: Four Things Friday

Unite America

With all the chaos of the elections, I realized: I haven’t wished you all happy holidays!

Whether you celebrated the last night of Hannaukah last night, are looking forward to Christmas or Kwanzaa, or whether you’re just trying to get through to 2021: I hope that you have a safe and relaxing holiday. 

For too many Americans, these holidays are going to be tougher than any we’ve experienced before. Stay strong, and look out for one another. Sometimes, it’s all we can do. 

With that said, here are three things to think about this week: 

  1. What’s next?

The electoral college might be settled, but the hard work of repairing our fractured society remains. A new president, a fresh congress, and even some new reforms in cities and states across the country won’t be enough to immediately repair the divides that have been expanding for more than two decades. 

In the New York Times, Thomas B. Edsall unpacks the vitriol and division, and discusses what the experts are saying we need to save ourselves from ruin. “To be sure, the path back to a strong, united and inclusive America will not be easy or short,” he writes. “But a clear pathway does exist, involving a shift of leadership, a focus on compromise and responding to the world as it is, rather than trying desperately to hang on to or restore a bygone era.”

  1. Here’s a way to start.

If we want an effective congress, we have to start by empowering congress to be effective. Over the last few decades, we’ve seen a trend as Congress has started passing fewer and fewer bills, with more and more pages, preferring an all-or-nothing form of legislation that centralizes power in party leadership. 

It’s short term thinking that weakens the effectiveness of the body as a whole, incapable of performing their most fundamental duties -- whether it’s passing a budget or auditing the hundreds of federal agencies. In the absence of any demonstrated congressional action, the executive branch has stepped in to fill the power; weakening our institutions in the process. 

A bright spot? The recommendations by the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. The bipartisan committee has offered useful insight, reports, and suggestions to help ensure that Congress can govern in a 21st century way. 

  1. Merry Christmas to us!

Christmas came early for the Unite America team! This week we announced five new board members and advisors who have joined our team, representing an array of backgrounds, experiences, and expertise that will support our team as we work to expand our impact. 

We’re excited to announce that political commentator and author Sophia Nelson and former Republican Senior Advisor Ron Christie have joined our board of directors. Meanwhile, constitutional expert and Harvard professor Dr. Danielle Allen, noted political activist and author Lawrence Lessig, and Princeton professor and anti-gerrymandering expert Dr. Samuel Wang all joined our advisory board. 

We are so honored and proud to have these experts on our team, and will certainly help us as we build into 2021 and beyond. 

  1. Finally, give back (if you can)

This will certainly be one of the most challenging holiday seasons many have had in awhile; whether it’s financial stress, concern about the virus, or loneliness from being away from family, 2020 will be ending on a hard note for many. If you have the capacity, think about how you can help those in your community. 

Uniting America is about more than just ensuring political reform and aligned political leaders. Reuniting our country starts with us, and starts by rebuilding our civil society, helping and supporting our neighbors and creating a community of trust. 

If you can do something to help your neighbors this December, do it. We’ll be a better country for it. 

Thanks for reading, guys. We’re taking a break for three things over the next few weeks, but we’ll be back and focused in the new year. 

From our Unite America family to yours, have a happy holiday and a safe new year. 

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