When insurrectionists and thugs stormed the Capitol on January 6, their attack reverberated pain throughout our republic. Not just because of the power they hoped to exude by invoking fear, but because they tore at the fabric of our democracy to which we are all bound.
“We the People” is not just a phrase or words on the pages of our founding documents. It’s the creed that connects us as a people. It’s a higher calling by which we live and die. And it’s embodied by our service to this country.
We saw it in the heroes on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, who risked their lives in ICUs, in emergency response and law enforcement. We saw it in teachers who fought for our kids’ well-being, and we saw it in our neighbors who lifted us up when businesses, jobs and loved ones were lost.
They gave proof through the night. And through their service, our flag is still here.
Indeed, the core strength of our nation has been rooted in the efforts of those whose compassion, courage and dogged commitment to service has never wavered—and because of them, we have always prevailed.
Even in the shadows of this presidency and the darkness of a pandemic, a flattened economy and civil unrest, President Donald Trump sought power; but the American people, guided by the fundamental principles of unity and service, found each other.
Because of their unshakable faith in our democracy, we are on the precipice of a new dawn in our nation. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris mean what they say when they speak of being a president and vice president for all Americans—regardless of political stripe, creed or color. That promise rings true for us because his commitment is our commitment. His service is our service. And we’re linked together not only by what America has been but what it can be for generations to come.
As we embark on this new chapter, we’re also seeking to heal the wounds of the Trump presidency. Communities and families have been splintered by petty politics and the consequences of Trump’s incompetent leadership. That’s why this moment must be defined first by what strengthens and unites us as a people—and that is our commitment to each other through service.
On Monday, just two days before Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are sworn into office, our nation honored Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy of justice through peace and nonviolence. It’s fitting then, that the Biden Presidential Inaugural Committee joined a National Day of Service to mark the beginning of a new era in our country.
By recognizing the heroic acts of service from everyday Americans, who pulled us out of the depths of a pandemic and encouraging new acts of service across the country, we can begin to repair the bonds that Trump sought to diminish.
Over 244,000 Americans volunteered more than 2 million hours of service on Monday, according to the Day of Service team. This included joining a virtual food drive, making care packages for frontline workers and assisting those whose mental health issues have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
On Wednesday, a new administration will be ushered in by the strength of Americans united in service. That’s because “We the People” are not defined by the adversaries who try to divide us; but rather by our service to one another.
Michael Steele served as a former GOP chair and lieutenant governor of Maryland.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.