If trends and polls bear out, we will be seeing Joe Biden effectively clinch the Democratic nomination today, and subsequently crush a floundering and disliked Trump in the general election. While I am happy that the odds of booting a man who is actively working to destroy our nation will greatly increase by midnight tonight, I find my pleasure tempered by one simple fact: that means President Biden.
I have no doubt that he will be a better leader than President Trump. Consider, though: I’ve been spending more three years making the case of how awful Trump is. Even granting him his occasional success and positive policy, when measured against his failures he remains a very strong contender for the title of worst President in American history.
Yes, Biden will be better, but that bar has been set astonishingly low. He has been made to look good in comparison only because he’s run against an incompetent nationalist and a wealth-confiscating socialist.
He is going to be made to look better still. Bernie and his associates, as they watch their last, best chance to remake the country into a workers’ paradise slip away, will be firing all their metaphorical guns at Biden. Trump and the GOP, seeing their influence threatening to dwindle to post-Nixon levels, will be doing the same. And, as is the case with many political attacks, there will be a lot of falsehoods, supposition and outright slander tossed at Biden. As these attacks are measured against objective reality, Biden will look better still. (An example would be the edited video of Biden warning against a circular firing squad, which was presented as an endorsement of Trump.)
All of this is expected. It is known. And it should not influence us.
One of Trump’s greatest strengths is the devotion of his followers, but this is not unique to him. It is a phenomenon seen with every President; as people defend decisions, they become emotionally and intellectually invested and proceed to identify more directly with the President. If they defend the President often enough, they develop a rapport (often imagining that it is reciprocated.) Because of Trump’s daily failures, he has developed a cultlike following of apologists with greater magnitudes of devotion than normal. The root similarities to prior Presidents remain.
Biden will be defended. It will be proper, because many of the attacks will be contrived and dishonest. But again, Biden is Biden, and has been so for decades. Not all of the attacks will be wrong. The man has said and done many things which can’t be waved away as simple mistakes. He is, in fact, a man who was repeatedly rejected from the Presidency specifically because of the large list of minor offenses in his past.
This is not a new concept. But with the recognition of these facts… he is a much better candidate than Bernie or Trump; he has made mistakes in the past, he creates a risk of devotion as people regularly defend and explain his errors… comes an important reality: Biden is not a uniter.
He has never been seen as a rallying point or a unifying figure. He has at times been seen as a young salesman, as Obama’s wingman, as a Union advocate, and as a Senate negotiator, but not as a force for unity.
So, what are people who want healing in the country to do?
My suggestion: Let Biden be Biden, and then demand him to have as little to do with our lives as possible. Biden is one man, and he hasn’t even been a particularly competent man. It’s bad enough I’ve suffered through twelve years of Presidents claiming more authority than they were due, I’m not in the mood to bump that number to sixteen.
I believe that we need to seek unity among ourselves. We don’t have to agree on everything, but we should be able to disagree without getting offensive and incensed. That is a key reason why the web site was created in the first place… for civil discussion, not as a place where grievances linger and factions develop because views aren’t shared on how to reverse the country’s downward trend. The same notion which is supposed to govern this web site should be embraced as a tenet of our daily lives.
We’re adults, or at least we’re trying to be. That’s something that we should hold to no matter who is in the Presidency, because otherwise we’ve ceded far too much authority to our government and have already lost the very liberty our ancestors fought and died for.