The calm after a four year storm in America is palpable, but this reversal of the adage might be premature. Almost half of this country voted for an inept and idiotic incarnation of malevolence, and the tide may easily tip the barge if someone only slightly more capable comes along.
This obvious observation aside, there’s an eternal question that lingers underneath – is the new President a champion of the anti-Trump ideal or merely a reflection of what the times call for? Persons of centerstage in the historical drama can barely, if ever, be disentangled from the flux of the historical dialectic. Many times, especially now, it becomes difficult to believe but that they are merely products of their times; they are thrust into the limelight due to the special mixture of circumstances that combine to make them the right person at the right time. History’s antithesis has met its thesis and will hopefully create a sensible synthesis. In a different world (maybe a world in which Comey stays mum), would Biden have chosen to run on a unifying platform? Would it sell even if he did?
Unfortunately it might seem that this argument devolves into rank determinism and makes any action or even morality impossible. But this need not be so; all we have argued is that persons of historical importance may be a product of history. Maybe that is not true of the lives of the more average person. It may prove worthwhile to bypass the Great Men to study the Okay Person when trying to understand how individual actions affect the course of history.