American Flag Divided

When Joe Biden campaigned in 2020, he promised Americans that he’d unite the country once more. In fact, his entire inaugural speech was a commitment to do just that. Biden gave that speech just three weeks after the insurrection on Capitol Hill during a highly tumultuous time. Republicans were still smarting over a sound walloping in the November elections, and Donald Trump had just been impeached by the House for a second time. 

Joe was right about one thing – our country needed to be reunited in the worst way. 

So, now it’s one year later, and President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took to Statuary Hall yesterday to address the nation on the anniversary of a sad day in American history – the one year anniversary of the Capitol Riots. 

Harris spoke first, then Joe took to the podium. What followed could be likened to one of the biggest strike-outs during the World Series or the missed Point-After-Touchdown that would have won the Super Bowl. 

Joe Biden had an opportunity to unite the country with his speech on January 6 in Statuary Hall. Unfortunately, he may have done quite the opposite. 

As far as rhetorical speech goes, Joe Biden’s speech was beautiful. He makes allusions to Greek mythology, the Bible, and Abraham Lincoln (ironically, the Great Uniter in the minds of most Americans). His speech divides “the God’s truth” and “the Big Lie.” The speech is an English teacher’s dream, but the messaging is all wrong. 

President Biden alienated not only supporters of President Donald Trump, but he alienated most Republicans, too. Anyone who has watched any of Joe Biden’s speeches since, say, October, has seen this “tough guy” exterior that Biden affects when he’s trying to make a point. This “tough guy” talks tough, changes the tone of his voice, and is extremely condescending. “Tough Guy” Joe took to the podium yesterday morning, and so did the superior attitude he brings. 

Biden brought up repeatedly that he won the 2020 election by 7 million votes. However, Joe would do well to remember that Donald Trump still got 74 million votes – that’s 74 million Americans that will vote in the mid-terms later this year and in the 2024 election. The polarizing rhetorical devices that Biden used during his January 6, 2022 speech pitted many Americans against one another yet again – instead of just being Trump supporters, now, those 74 million voters are forever associated with “lies” and a “web of lies.” Biden’s “tough guy” speech insinuates that his “truth” is the only “truth” associated with the 2020 election. 

Joe Biden repeatedly said in his speech that Donald Trump had perpetuated a “big lie” and a “web of lies” that his supporters believed – that the election was stolen. Biden spent an entire paragraph in his speech stating that Donald Trump cared only about his own power, his own interest, and his bruised ego. Joe Biden would have Americans to believe that Donald Trump never cared about the American people, our economic woes, our ability to pursue life, liberty and happiness. President Biden would do well to remember that one likely reason Trump was elected in 2016 is because groups of disenfranchised Americans felt that someone – Trump – was finally listening to them. 

While that may or may not be true, one thing is for certain. In 2016, Americans made a choice. The American people elected a president with no political experience. One who was, let’s face it, brash and unpolished. However, a great many Americans liked his policies – they put more money in our paychecks and provided more jobs in a variety of industries. Obama said he couldn’t do it; manufacturing jobs that had gone overseas would never come back. Trump enacted policies that did bring those jobs back. Our gas was cheaper, feeding our families was easier, and America was becoming a world super-power once more. 

In the wake of the 2020 election, while the majority of supporters of Donald Trump would never support the violence that took place on Capitol Hill last January 6, we do feel a little disenfranchised. Sadly, Joe missed the opportunity on January 6, 2022 to invite those individuals to feel like they are no longer disenfranchised and looked down upon by the Washington elite. Trump had a way of engaging the average American who felt that Washington is out of touch with average American issues – that’s why he was elected. Biden’s speech on January 6, 2022 felt like Ole Joe was thumbing his nose at those average Americans and possibly even “rubbing it in” that he won the election. Nobody likes a sore winner, Joe. 

Not only did Joe Biden’s speech alienate those 74 million Americans who voted for Donald Trump in 2020, but Joe missed a great opportunity to determine the reasoning behind the riots and the insurrection at the Capitol Building. 

Again, this writer – along with a vast majority of Republican Americans – would never, ever advocate any type of riots or insurrectionist behavior in the wake of an election that didn’t go in our favor. No. We believe in the process of voting the way our Founding Fathers instituted it within the confines of the Constitution. However, we want – as all freedom-loving Americans should want – a free and fair election. Joe, many Americans are still leery of the mail-in ballots used during the 2020 election. We also don’t understand why – when one needs a valid identification to obtain employment, cash a check, or even rent a room in a hotel – Democrats see this as a way of preventing individuals from voting. Republicans want our fellow Americans to vote, Joe, even if it’s not for our favorite candidate. But, I digress. . . 

President Biden, there is an overwhelming amount of Americans who feel that the political process is no longer balanced. President Reagan was called “The Great Communicator.” Why? Yes, part of the origin of that nickname had to do with his ability to communicate with world leaders, but, consider his relationship with Tip O’Neill. The pair may have sparred regularly regarding policy, but they worked together for legislative outcomes that both parties could live with. Americans feel that the political process is becoming more and more one-sided and unfair. Could that be one reason why a small faction of individuals decided to attack the Capitol Building? 

Trey Gowdy said something so poignant during an interview yesterday, and I’m paraphrasing: Make one set of rules, and make sure each party follows the same set of rules. As a Republican, I admit, the GOP is just as guilty of this offense as the Democrats. Republicans salivated for Bill Clinton to be impeached in the late 90s, and he was. Yet, the Senate voted to acquit him, so he remained in office for the rest of his term. Sound familiar? The Democrats couldn’t wait for Trump to be impeached and booted from office until the Senate intervened. 

We’ve got a January 6 committee investigating the insurrection, and when they call for documents, Republicans all but cry out for resistance. Yet, if a Republican committee calls for documents in accordance with an investigation, the Democrats stall as long as possible. I can see why Trey Gowdy made the comment he did. We Americans have elected officials to go to work for the betterment of our country, not to fight like children. We want our officials to go to Washington and do what’s right – regardless of a “D” or an “R” behind that official’s name. 

Speaking of electing officials to represent us, most of us who voted for Trump in 2016 were motivated at least in part by Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” comment. With all due respect, Mrs. Clinton, we are not deplorables. We are average citizens with mortgages and families. We want to see our children get a good education that will prepare them for the real world. We want to work and contribute to society. 

Joe, we Americans want to see the ship righted.

As president, examining why there might be a group of Americans so upset that they’d even consider an insurrection would be a great step toward becoming the great uniter you promised us you could be. 

Furthermore, Joe’s polling has plummeted since he took office in January 2021. Becoming the Great Uniter would benefit not only President Biden himself, but it would benefit the Democratic Party as a whole. 

2022 is a mid-term year. So far, multiple Democrats have announced their upcoming retirement from their posts in Congress, and still others are announcing that they won’t be seeking re-election for other reasons. In order to get the Build Back Better bill passed, Joe is going to have to reach across the aisle to construct a piece of legislation that all Americans can live with. Just over forty percent of all Americans support the Build Back Better legislation; only thirty-six percent of independent voters are in favor of the legislation. Independent voters have always played a major role in elections, and the mid-terms this year will be no different. Joe, working to unite the American people will not only help you garner support for your keystone legislation, but it will help your party in November. It’s worth a try if you want to leave a positive legacy. 

Speaking of the Build Back Better bill, reaching out across the aisle – and across to Americans as a whole – if Joe can reach out and begin uniting the country, other legislation his party wishes to push through Congress will have a much better chance of garnering necessary votes if the American people feel that politicians are working together. We’ve been down this road before with the Affordable Care Act – Americans were told it was a great bill and “we have to pass it to know what’s in it.” We won’t fall for that one again – transparency is key, and that means getting members of the GOP on board to craft a piece of legislation that the bulk of Americans can support. 

As it is, one party seems to enjoy steamrolling over the other when they introduce legislation. We the People want to feel as if we have some say in the laws that are being considered in Washington, and right now, let’s be honest – it feels like a small faction of Congressional members are able to hold legislation hostage when it suits them. Joe, you ran as a centrist; stop letting some of the members of your party push you to support legislation that most Americans either see as frivolous or as benefiting only a certain group of people. 

Finally, President Biden, if you can reach out and start governing for the benefit of the American public in general – the average American that you promised you’d represent – you will be better received as a true leader and more presidential (remember, that’s something the Democratic Party said Donald Trump would never be able to do). Ronald Reagan won re-election by a landslide in 1984. The next day, The Washington Post credited the successful re-election  with the popularity of his conservative policies, but, I’d venture to say that much of it had to do with the fact that Reagan worked with his political opponents in order to benefit all Americans. 

Mr. Biden, there are three years left in your term. We Americans don’t want to see you fail – if you fail, so do we. Call in your speechwriter – and don’t allow that rhetorical genius to use politically divisive language. Call in Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi and tell them it’s time to start working across the aisle – no more excuses, no more blaming the GOP. While you’re at it, make sure that we bring some decorum back to the two chambers of Congress (there was no need for the verbal sparring and “booing” that took place after the House passed the BBB bill). Let’s set rules that both parties have to abide by when and if Congressional investigations take place. The American public is depending on you to unite the country, Joe – now let’s get it done.