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It is Time for the Left to Let Go and Move On

No great thing was ever accomplished by continually looking in the rearview mirror.

He is still driving the news cycle, and it is either exactly as the left desires or merely represents a portrait of who they are and for what they stand. Of course, the “he” is Donald J. Trump, who is presumably sunning himself at a national historic landmark built by a cereal heiress in Palm Beach, Florida. Meanwhile, back in the Swamp, the victors of election 2020 appear to be stuck and unable to move past Orange Man Bad and go forward with their “bold, new agenda.”

An impeachment trial looms in Congress this week for the 45th president who no longer occupies the Oval Office. The Wall Street Journal is rehashing an “exclusive” from “people familiar with the matter” that Mr. Trump tried to press the Department of Justice to bring a lawsuit to the Supreme Court to overturn the election. Only the most prominent newspaper in Washington, D.C., appears willing to stick a proverbial toe in the water and ask the real question: Can we move on?

As any psychologist worth his salt will tell you, moving on requires a few key elements: One must let go and forgive. These keys were heralded in Mr. Biden’s inaugural address. His speech sounded like a bundle of platitudes loosely tied together, but within it lay this message: “We can see each other not as adversaries but as neighbors,” the newly sworn-in president asserted. “We can treat each other with dignity and respect. We can join forces, stop the shouting, and lower the temperature. For without unity, there is no peace, only bitterness, and fury.”

In other words, it is time to let go and move on. But words such as these sound hollow when recriminations and revenge are coupled with the persistent desire, nay need, to punish. Thus far, only an air of chastisement and castigation permeates this new administration.

Impeach. Investigate. Eradicate.

These actions multiplying like a tupelo in the Swamp belie the new president’s words and certainly do not carry the sound and feel of unity or healing. So long as the discussion of platitudes is at hand, it might be worth pausing for a moment and reflecting upon the well-worn saying: “Actions speak louder than words.” Returning to Mr. Biden’s inaugural speech, he appears to recognize this maxim: “To overcome these challenges – to restore the soul and to secure the future of America – requires more than words,” he said. As one Ph.D. author in Psychology Today wrote:

“Replaying the past over and over again doesn’t change it, and wishing things were different doesn’t make it so. In some cases, especially when it comes to the past, all you can do is accept whatever it is you’re holding on to and then let it go. That’s how everything changes.”

The Biden administration has a vital decision to make, and this is the time to make it. Will it spend time and energy on the past, or will it forge ahead with a bold new vision – something they have whined about incessantly over the last four years? What one does with power tells you a lot about his or her priorities. Will they use it to squash their opponents and beat them into the ground, or will they find a way to accomplish something they can call their own?

The first 100 days of an administration are most revealing of a president’s priorities. Signing declarations to undo what your predecessor has done is not a step that advances an agenda. Nor does beating up on defeated political opponents.

To accomplish great things, it is imperative to let go and move on. This necessitates an understanding that you cannot control what other people do and say. Therapists call these “unhelpful behaviors.” Successful leaders do not squander their time pursuing already vanquished opponents by looking back. To do great things, one must look forward. Abraham Lincoln put it best when he said: “I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.” Sound advice for President Biden.


Read more from Leesa K. Donner.

Read More From Leesa K. Donner

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