I watched President Biden’s inaugural speech with the hope that I would come away feeling a little better about the outcome of the November election. After all, whomever is elected is charged with leading our great country for the next four years. I want him to succeed. I want our country to remain safe, strong and prosperous. I would never think of sporting one of those “Not my president” bumper stickers that were so ubiquitous the last four years. Whenever I see one of those I always want to ask the driver, “What country are you from?”
Unfortunately, the President’s speech, and its focus on unity, rang hollow. Crying out for unity is easy when you’re in power. But, where have you been the last four years? Actions certainly matter more than words, so regardless of what was said, what President Biden and his party do going forward is what really matters.
Words do matter, however. President Biden missed an opportunity to truly begin to unite the country by ignoring a few simple words of consequence. When trumpeting Americans right to peacefully protest, while leaving no place for violence, he condemned the attack on the Capitol in January. But he failed to even mention the months of violent protests last year (and he certainly didn’t mention that his Vice President stoked that violence). Isn’t all political violence bad?
He spoke about telling the truth and that there was no place for lies in his administration. If the President actually wanted to bring Americans together he could have used this opportunity to accept blame for his, and his party’s, part in spreading two of the most harmful lies in recent memory- the Russian Collusion conspiracy theory and that President Trump and large numbers of his supporters are racist.
I came away from his speech thinking, “Here is the epitome of a lifetime politician- swamp creature if you will- at his peak, saying whatever is politically expedient and beneficial to holding power”. I hope that he proves me wrong.