Well, that didn’t take long.
Joseph Biden was given his proper swearing into the office of the President of the United States on January 20th, right on schedule. Next thing we knew, those shiny new $2000 checks he said would be in the mail became the classic lie about the check being in the mail. Two grand ain’t gonna pop up on our doorsteps anytime soon and now the Democrats are milling about, just being THE DEMOCRATS. We were promised $2000? Well, okay, some people already received their $600 stimulus checks. So instead of shipping out $2000 checks like they promised, Congress is just going to hand us all $1400 checks with the excuse that hey, we already got the first $600, and adding $1400 will make that an even two Gs! All this was going on around the time Biden’s student loan debt forgiveness program was kicked from $50,000 to $10,000 (the latter would still wipe mine clean; most aren’t nearly so lucky).
Come on, you didn’t really think the inauguration of Joe Biden was going to create the full-scale removal of the damage Trump caused, did you?
Look, I understand that Biden’s first actions after taking office – a rash of executive orders aimed at overturning Trump’s worst transgressions – made him look like Thor. It’s a nice change of pace from the unique brand of mismanagement being Tweeted by The Orange Gremlin day in and day out for the last four years. But it shouldn’t make anyone forget an essential detail: Joe Biden was a lousy presidential candidate. No matter how many concessions he makes to the working classes, Biden also ran on a platform of also making concessions to the corporate oligarchs who are really running the country. Biden was picked by the Democrats because he wasn’t going to disturb the little peace that his fascist predecessor left us with. Donald Trump was a corporate oligarch. All the country has done is vote Trump out in exchange for the exact type of politician who answers to people like Donald Trump.
Joe Biden at his best was a reactionary candidate trying to earn our votes by pandering to our at-large feelings about Trump. He asked fence-sitters for votes, shamed progressives, and pandered to the right by coughing up a loose, meal-mouthed definition of unity and healing. Had the opposition been a tiny iota more competent or less dictatorial than Trump, then Biden’s “vision” falls apart and he loses the election. I’m convinced that he lost to Trump in about 99 percent of the other quantum universes which offered Americans the same choice. Biden is a guy who is trying to bring a few band-aids in to try to fix up a good slash to the jugular. The band-aids aren’t going to do the job, and if Biden doesn’t realize that soon, the country is going to need a defibrillator.
This isn’t news to progressives. This is more of a blaring “we told you so.” Now we’ve all palm-slapped our faces red and it hasn’t even been a full month yet. Yes, it’s easy to feel a little bit charmed at the things Biden gets right; hell, it’s just nice to finally have a President who doesn’t look and act like a buffoon again. But the key thing to remember about the 2020 Presidential Election is that Biden’s victory wasn’t the landslide it’s now so widely touted to be. In an election which needed to be a thundering rejection of everything Donald Trump stood for, Trump still reeled in more votes than any other candidate in history except for Joe Biden. That doesn’t come across as a rejection in my book. It didn’t come across as a rejection in Trump’s book, either, or any of the books Trump’s cultists had read to them. The difference was 8 million votes, which hardly seems like an appreciable difference in a country of 350 million people. Trump himself spent months calling plays from the dictator’s hand guide: Calling fraud, declaring victory, and repeating it ad nauseum to rope his followers into the coup he attempted on January 6.
To the little credit that can be given to Trump, the one thing he really did do for the United States is bring its worst aspects to light. Unfortunately, that forced Biden into the position of trying to come across as a President who can put toothpaste back into the tube. Biden himself said that he’s not planning to change anything. Biden isn’t going to do much more than try to restore the country back to the odd facsimile that passed for normality before Donald Trump, and it’s tough to see him getting it up that far. And even if he somehow does, Biden fails to grasp the real problem in the country now: All of our worst aspects are sitting out in the open. The country’s Amerocentrism, its sense of entitlement, its contempt for minorities, its belief that it’s somehow superior to the rest of the world, its me-first cultural dogma, and its pathetic, self-congratulatory jingoism. Those are already considered odd by the rest of the world, and they tend to be invoked every time a push for marginal improvement is on the table.
Biden was the guy who was elected so moderates can return to their happy little lives where they feel good about themselves and about ignoring political and social machina again. Unfortunately, the unique set of problems that came up during Trump’s administration aren’t just going to disappear anytime soon. And for the country to truly heal, that’s what has to happen – the problems have to disappear. Not just go back underground, but be wiped out. And the irony of Joe Biden is that he seems to oppose ridiculously popular ideas and policies which would go a long way toward bringing the country together the way he says he’s trying to do. Universal health care, a wealth tax, and student loan debt forgiveness are all policies which a vast majority in the country would rally behind.
Unfortunately, those are all progressive ideas which we would be trying to pin to a man who seems to have trouble saying Donald Trump needs to be held accountable for his role in the January 6th insurrection. Like so many other politicians before him, Biden is trying to present himself as a man of the people while still bowing before his corporate overlords, and in doing so he’s bending and twisting into poses a devout yoga master would envy. The grand lesson the right has figured out but the Democrats always have trouble with is that they’re not going to have it both ways. They can’t keep digging up old moderate boomers to throw at their constituents with vague promises of being buddy-buddy with the alt-right. Especially not these days, when the alt-right isn’t concealing the fact that it wants you to suffer.
Donald Trump may be a monster out of Lovecraft and have the personality of a spoiled third grader, but that third-grade monster developed a fervent cult following. It got him the Presidency, almost won him a second term, and enabled him to create an uprising over a lost election. Biden’s administration is not the time to take a break. Biden’s administration is the time to push harder, because the next fascist the right throws at us is going to be smarter and more cunning than Donald Trump.