We have much to celebrate as we begin to bring closure to our 2020 Christmas season celebration. We can look with hope toward 2021.

This has been a spiritually, emotionally, financially, and socially devastating year. I can remember so many people saying that they were happy to see 2019 end, but more are happy to see 2020 move off the scene. It has been a terrible year for them in so many ways. Many were suffering financially. Some have dealt with serious illnesses. Some have lost loved ones and very close friends to death.

Now we can all say that we have three reasons to be joyful and hopeful as we embark upon the first month of the year 2021.

The first reason that we have to celebrate is the vaccine. We have at least two and possibly more COVID-19 vaccines that will have been approved by the FDA and some have already begun to be administered to the American population.

I along with many citizens had settled in to the routine of going out only if necessary and trying not to let the lack of fellowshipping with family and friends cause us to feel anxious and fearful. Even though Zoom, Facetime, drive-bys were not our cup of tea, many of us were trying to adjust to those means as our way of keeping in touch with our family and friends.

On Dec, 14 when I witnessed the landing of the first plane carrying vials of vaccines to be shipped out immediately to 50 states, I was overjoyed — but had a tinge of sadness for the people who had died unnecessarily. My heart goes out to the families who will still lose loved ones, thousands each day.

The vaccines bring hope that will spring eternally for those in line for the vaccine, and we pray that they are alive when it is their time to receive it. The logistics of getting it done is complicated, but if we can figure out how to build a space station and send men and women there to live for six months and return safely to earth, surely we have individuals with knowledge and wisdom to get the vaccines to the citizens of this country and those who are in the world needing them.

Secondly, we can also celebrate that our economy is appearing to bounce back. The only thing necessary is for the people of this country to leave politics out of the equation.

Over the last five or more years we have allowed everything to be political. Who should live or die is political. Wearing the protective covering is political. Who should be allowed to vote is political. Such a dangerous game we are playing with the precious lives of people. If the citizens of this country would get the blue state, red state mentality out of their thinking, our economy will bounce back in a heartbeat.

Those of us with wisdom have always known that one man cannot hold another man down unless he is standing there holding him in place, which means he himself will not make any progress. Our end game has to be that all will win or none will win.

We can see indications that the economy will bounce back quickly and all citizens will profit. Presently we have a group in charge holding the money bag and saying that if everyone should get help then no one will get help. What kind of human being would think and act like that? The answer is the rich and famous, who believe that they got what they have by hard work. We must eliminate that fallacy from our thinking. Some of the poorest people in this country and in the world are the hardest working.

It would be a great advantage if we could check the compassion level of our representatives before they are seated to represent us. Some people who were born with a silver spoon in their mouths must be reminded that many people were born with no spoon at all.

The third reason that we have to celebrate as we enter the New Year is the Biden/Harris team. It is like hitting the refresh key on the computer. Or maybe like when a cellphone will not do anything that the owner tells it to, the option is to cut it off or take out the battery.

We are starting out fresh and renewed as we move into the new year. President-elect Joe Biden brings a calmness that many have long awaited. He is bringing people with him who are rooted in decency, honor and truth. We will no longer have to wake up wondering who has been thrown under the bus overnight because they were not willing to go against the U.S. Constitution. We will no longer have to be governed by tweets.

One of my associates said “Oh, well, Biden is just another old White man.” I had to remind him that all old white men are not the same. This one makes one proud to be of the human race, not ashamed.

Biden will lead this country unselfishly because he has lost loved ones, so he knows what it feels like to hurt deeply. He knows what it is like to be deathly ill and have to fight for his life. And he knows what it feels like to lose in the political arena. He has always shown his love, understanding and acceptance of the American Constitution.

Biden is a strong-willed individual who does not sway with every doctrine set before him. Biden has read widely and is well educated. He knows world history and the history of this country. He has been exposed to how the White House is supposed to operate and he respects the rule of law. His Christian belief helps to keep him grounded. He is a man who can be reasoned with even if he disagrees with the individual. He will not operate like an autocrat, despot or a dictator because he loves our democracy. He also realizes how fragile it is and will work to protect it and keep it safe.

There are hundreds of reasons why the citizens of this country can rest well at night. We now have an individual that we can look up to with respect and pride. Our children can now look at the news and come away feeling clean and uplifted in spirit. Our young people may once again say “I want to grow up to be the President of the U.S.A.” and not be embarrassed.

Willie Mae Samuel is a playwright and a director in Rome. She is the founder and director of the African American Connection of the Performing Arts Inc. and a 2020 Heart of the Community Award of Honor recipient.

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