Biden Beating Trump may have been a Bad Thing
While we were very fortunate to have Trump removed from office, we were less than fortunate to have his successor. Though I’ve never had much positive to say about Biden, I was relieved by his defeat of Trump. However, his victory may ultimately prove the worse outcome. Rather than an indictment of Biden and anything he has done, the problem is the miasma of inaction under his presidency.
The problem with having Biden in the White House, as has been and would have been the problem under any Democratic presidency, is that much of the “left” loses steam and goes quiet when one of their own is in office. Things may have been worse under Trump, but they haven’t gotten much better under Biden. Biden is a “traditional” politician, so he doesn’t rile people and provoke outrage the way Trump did multiple times a day. He acts calm and polite and mostly says the right things. But demeanor and platitudes matter far less than actions, and while Biden may not be doing the overtly harmful actions that Trump did, he has allowed great harms to continue through inaction.
For all the cries of “this is not who we are” in response to the Trump administration’s separation of immigrant children from their parents, there’s been relative silence under Biden. Without images of children in cages and the president bleating about the need for a zero tolerance policy in punishing poor and defenseless civilians fleeing violence and death south of the border, you’d think the problem was solved. Biden may have ended Trump’s policy, but he’s done very little to undo the damage, and has continued routine deportations and family separations. He also allowed reinstatement of the “remain in Mexico” policy, which forced asylum seekers to wait in Mexican border towns for interminably long times before their asylum applications could be considered, and has kept Title 42 in place, a policy which has kept asylum seekers from crossing the border because of the risk they’d bring contagion, a stupid rationale when the US was worse affected by the covid-19 pandemic than its southern neighbors, or any other country.
There hasn’t been any appreciable improvement to policing in this country, improvement being the defunding of the inherently violent and prejudiced institution and reallocating funds to more socially beneficial programs. Instead, Biden has advocated giving police departments even more money.
Biden hasn’t pushed for universal healthcare. Not that he ever has, but during the pandemic would have been the time, if ever there was one, for him to get on board. He hasn’t even worked to expand and improve on the current system, satisfied that “Obamacare,” already insufficient and weakened, is the best we’re going to get.
American imperialism is still chugging along. Though our power is waning, and Biden has at least pulled us back some from direct involvement in international conflicts, we haven’t stopped providing funds and weapons for the warfare of other countries.
Most damning, the Biden administration has done hardly anything to address the climate crisis. He made some modest proposals, which stalled thanks to genocidal Republicans and Democratic collaborators, and then seems to have given up. We are diving over a cliff into catastrophe and Biden is allowing it to happen.
Worse than Biden’s inactions, failures, and abandoned attempts is the reaction of the population, the lack of action under his presidency. There never should have been an expectation that he would do anything radical or progressive, however necessary. That’s never been who he is. He’s a moderate conservative, and that’s a generous description. He was never going to accomplish much of anything, and acting as though he would has been disastrous.
Because Biden pretends to be doing something, and can lay gentle blame on the fossil fuel barons and their mendicants for the failure of his half-hearted efforts, people act like nothing’s wrong, or there’s nothing we can do about it. That makes him and his presidency existentially dangerous. Trump was an existential danger. But at least under Trump, the danger was obvious and easy to rally against. He was an obvious villain, and that gave people the impetus to behave more heroically. Things did not get all better with the change from one old white man to another. If anything, in the net accounting, things have gotten worse. We’re closer to global destruction than ever, and most of us have stopped fighting because it’s dopey Uncle Joe and not the deranged evil clown who’s killing us. We can’t rely on any politician, and we can’t accept anything less than radical change. Without collective action, we will not be saved.