In the wake of a presidency tempered in raw angst, one of which that reveled in partisan divide, it is easy to lose oneself in the comforting reassurances of the next administration. Instead, we must remain vigilant of further demagoguery.
If you exclude the numerous assertions of bigotry and a whole host of “isms,” the initial and prime reason for the animosity for President Trump stemmed from his brazen oratory style which neglected refined speech as well as the emotions of the opposition. To his supporters, this was a rallying call for the destruction of “politically-correct culture,” which is the antithesis of machismo and the traditional status-quo.
While it was Trump’s unabashed charisma and humor that secured his loyal following, the very same technique was viewed as “un-presidential” or “brutish” by Trump’s fierce critics.
As the Biden Administration rises above the grave of the Trump Presidency, it seems to be an unfortunate reality that those who were offended by Trump’s rhetoric will likely overlook the upcoming administration’s flaws due to its polished presidential style.
This sort of self-deception may sound like “he isn’t as bad as Trump,” or “at least he sounds like a president should.”
It is true that the presidential image was tarnished by Trump during the past four years, and it is equally true that such an image is essential to upholding foreign relations and national respect for the office of the President. America may very well require a more elegant approach to governing going forward, but we should not mask the blemishes in Biden’s record simply because he is a steady and calming voice on the television instead of an uncouth verbal brute.
It does not take much research to realize that Joe Biden may not be the cure to America’s ails that many of the left say he is. Even his own pick for Vice President, Kamala Harris, has undergone a self-rationalization to see him as a force for good in American government.
It has not even been two years since the Democratic Primary Debate where Harris openly attacked Biden’s record regarding race, in which she recalled his cooperation with segregationist senators of the past, as well as his opposition to the court-mandated desegregation of the busing system in America in an attempt to introduce racial diversity into the national school system.
Biden’s history of embracing such unsavory legislation is a startling look into how someone’s own politics and principles can change in the direction of where the wind of history is blowing. However, in highlighting Biden’s failure, Harris unintentionally drew attention to her own hypocrisy regarding race.
As a prosecutor and later attorney general in the state of California, Harris enforced extremely strict crime laws that disproportionately targeted African-Americans over any other race and boosted record incarceration rates. The Los Angeles Times, in a profile, attempted to underscore that Harris “did not play a role in passing those laws.” While it is true that she did not pass the laws in question, it is also a reality that she enforced them to the letter, instead of publicly voicing her opposition to discriminatory legislation.
Staining her name further, she time and time again defied a Supreme Court order to decrease California’s prison population by releasing roughly 5,000 non-violent offenders who were deemed to be qualified to reenter society.
Even through a brief review of their careers, it is evident that their actions have not always been in coordination with the social values they have touted on the campaign trail. However, after the Trump Presidency and ensuing chaos, neoliberals and moderates have betrayed the consistency of their values for a reassuring face.
In the aftermath of Trumpism, this revisionist mindset will be a common sight. While it is understandable to feel excited for a return to common decency, one must take care to neither allow misdeeds to go neglected nor for “whataboutism” to reign supreme over rational thought.
The left is viewing Biden and his administration as a step on the right path for America, but some centrists argue it may not be overall. From a centrist's vantage point, it looks much like the stereotypical, disingenuous politician with a plastic smile on their face and a knife placed firmly in their hand behind their back. It should be acknowledged that the liberal social policy they support on the campaign trail and in front of the podium may very well be just a tactic to enamor the liberals opposed to Trump.
Harris and her heel-turn in opinion of Biden is emblematic of the sort of rationalization we will continue to see from leftists eager for change in our government. Consistency is required as we navigate a particularly challenging era in American politics. We cannot hold leaders to different standards for our leaders, determined by the letter denoting their party next to their name.
Biden should be recognized as the politician he is, instead of this image as a champion of American democracy which has been falsely purported after the shamefulness that transpired at the end of Trump’s term.
America is sick, and it is rotting from the inside out. The necrotic tissue begins in the Senate and expands to the House and all other facets of the government. The enemy of American prosperity is the lifelong politician who benefits off of conflict and fake smiles.
Do not give the Biden Administration a pass simply because you are comparing it to the failures of the previous administration. Do not be fooled by the hollow platitudes of a politician of almost fifty years who said all the right things to obtain an office wounded by the scandals of the past four years.
I would urge the neoliberals — who decried President Trump — to be fervent in their consistency of principle, and hold Biden to the same standard of virtue.
He is not the savior of America that you might wish him to be.
Ian-Michael is an Opinion Editor at The Daily Cardinal and a freshman studying Political Science and Journalism. Do you think we need to end saviorism in politics? Do you think Joe Biden shouldn’t blindly get a pass? Send all comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ian-Michael Griffin is an Opinion Editor for The Daily Cardinal, and a member of the Editorial Board.