|Vision and Obstruction||
29 April 2021
Cogito Ergo Non Serviam
Last night, President Joe Biden spoke to a joint session of Congress, which was limited to a handful of members given the Covid-19 restrictions. Despite the unique thinness of the crowd, the message was one of bold ambition, suggesting Mr. Biden wants to be a transformational president rather than a transitional one. His vision is one of social democracy for Americans with more education funded by taxpayers, better child and elder care, and massive rebuilding of America's crumbling infrastructure. Senator Tim Scott gave the Republican reply, and it was clear that the GOP has no interest at all in helping.
"Now, after just 100 days, I can report to the nation: America is on the move again," the president said. "Turning peril into possibility. Crisis into opportunity. Setbacks into strength. We all know life can knock us down. But in America, we never, ever, ever stay down." One might say he wants to make America great again, but that slogan means something else these days.
What Mr. Biden said he wanted to do is build an economy from the middle and bottom out and up rather than let things tickle down. He noted that trickle down never has worked, and that the key to a decent economy is having the people in the middle and farther down the ladder make some gains.
More importantly, he put a wager on American democracy. "Can our democracy deliver on its promise that all of us, created equal in the image of God, have a chance to lead lives of dignity, respect and possibility?" he asked. "Can our democracy deliver on the most pressing needs of our people? Can our democracy overcome the lies, anger, hate and fears that have pulled us apart?"
Messrs. Putin, Xi and their dictatorial ilk are convinced bourgeois liberal democracy doesn't work in the new century. "They look at the images of the mob that assaulted the Capitol as proof that the sun is setting on American democracy," Mr. Biden said. "But they're wrong. You know it. I know it. But we have to prove them wrong."
Put another way, if the GOP sabotages the president's program, they will be providing aid and comfort to the autocrats. That is not as forceful an argument as it would have been before Mr. Trump's presidency. At this stage, the Republican Party has to prove it is interested in democracy and that it supports democracy. The January 6 attack on the Capitol and the voter suppression laws being passed in Republican-controlled states are evidence that the former party of Lincoln and Eisenhower is now against the American system.
If further proof were needed, Senator Scott provided it. He began with "We just heard President Biden's first address to Congress. Our president seems like a good man." Seems? The implication is that looks are deceiving and that the president is not a good man. An ad hominem attack is no way to begin a search for unity.
Then, he handed out this whopper, "Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country." And the sun rises in the North.
Meanwhile, the GOP was attacking the speech before it was even delivered. "Behind President Biden's familiar face, it's like the most radical Washington Democrats have been handed the keys, and they're trying to speed as far left as they can possibly go before American voters ask for their car back," Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, said beforehand. Senator Mitt Romney stated, "Maybe if he were younger, I'd say his dad needs to take away the credit card."
Having handed a fascist president a trillion-dollar tax cut that ballooned the national debt, which continues to grow as a result, they are in no position to complain.
Above all, though, they don't have a plan of their own. If letting the private sector do things was a solution, the American infrastructure would not need fixing. Absent a GOP plan, there is nothing for them to do but sit on the sidelines and complain. In other words, it will be just like the Obama years.
© Copyright 2021 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.