In any other era, the president’s response to the events of the last few months would be viewed as aberrant and appalling. But three and a half years of chaotic, incompetent and corrupt governance has so debased the presidency that many Americans have become wearily inured to the daily White House carnival.
Welcome to Trump’s America. The nation mourns the COVID death of 140,000 souls, most of whom died needlessly because the president lied, denied and dithered for months, and then simply threw up his hands and wished it away.
The president refuses to acknowledge the severity of this pandemic’s ongoing – and worsening – devastation. He cannot bring himself to comfort a grieving or provide the country the leadership it so desperately needs. Instead he stumbles, lies, golfs and gaslights the nation with a rosy counter-narrative of miracle cures and a roaring economic recovery.
Then there is the matter of his disastrous handling of the unrest spurred by the murder of George Floyd, who was asphyxiated by white police officers as bystanders recorded it on their phones – harrowing video capturing another black life brutally snuffed out.
Such instances of police brutality are hardly new of course, but it bears noting that no other president has openly encouraged law enforcement to rough up citizens. No other president has condoned racism, misogyny and anti-Semitism. And no other president has fomented white grievance with clear overtones of white supremacy.
Donald Trump outdid himself when he ordered the military to attack and tear gas peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square and then pranced over like a triumphant tyrant to wave a Bible in the air. As American cities were rocked with protests, Trump took to Twitter to complain that Democratic officials were showing too much restraint. “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” he tweeted, an incitement to violence with echoes of Jim Crow that it triggered a rare rebuke from Twitter, which had until then given Trump free reign.
But perhaps Trump’s most grotesque act was when he declared that life-saving masks were symbols of “slavery and social death,” a stunningly offensive comment by any standard.
Joe Biden has spent the past weeks and months differently. He spoke with protestors while the president hid. He spoke with compassion about the nation’s crises and offered solutions. He has addressed the COVID crisis intelligently and called upon the federal government to do more to stem the rising tide of infections. He did what a president does, and he acted like one. And he continues to embody the strength of character and the fundamental decency that defines this nation.
We have a president today who is openly racist, who has contempt for the rule of law, who has incited violence, and who continues to stand idly by, in denial, while a pandemic rages across the country.
Trump’s tenure has been one of pathological dishonesty, corruption, callousness and manifest incompetence. He must be defeated – and resoundingly – if this country, as we know it, is to survive.
Joe Biden, by comparison is “as fine a man as God put on this earth,” in the words of Lindsey Graham. He has had a long and very distinguished career in public service and has the temperament and experience necessary to bring this country together and lead us out of this great recession and restore economic fairness and opportunity for all Americans. He also has the stature to quickly restore our standing in the world and repair the tattered alliances that Trump has left in his wake.
Joe Biden is the man for this moment. He will make a great president and he deserves enthusiastic and unwavering support. Those who lose sight of what is at stake in this election will rue the day if Trump gets re-elected.
The featured image at the top of this article shows former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden walking with supporters at a pre-Wing Ding march from Molly McGowan Park in Clear Lake, Iowa on August 9, 2019. (Photo / Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons)
About the author
Peter Pappas is the president of Innovation Strategies. He served in the Obama-Biden Administration as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and previously served in the Clinton White House and State Department.
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