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A Tale of Two Bidens

Dear Editor,

One of America’s enduring strengths has been our ability to unite in the face of tragedy or disaster. Great leaders inspire us to find the high ground together.  President-elect Joe Biden rose to that challenge on January 6 and then sunk back into the political mud a day later.

In the midst of the disgraceful, Trump-fueled insurrection at the Capitol, Biden showed strength in his urgings to the current President and offered soaring, necessary rhetoric to all citizens. “America is about honor, decency, respect, tolerance. That’s who we are… democracy is fragile and to preserve it, requires people of goodwill who are devoted, not to the pursuit of power or their personal interests, pursuits of their own selfish interest at any cost, but at the common good.”  It was a call to all of us, even the protesters in DC who did not join the insurrection, to come together and work toward the common good.  In a nation that is deeply fractured, it was the perfect message.

The next day, Biden pivoted to being a lame politician by pandering to a segment of his base with a tweet – a very Trump-like action. First, I find it disgusting that any American –no matter how just their cause– would try to leverage this assault on our democracy for political or partisan gain while our country is still bleeding.  America’s most determined international enemies (China, Russia, Iran) were quick to use this self-inflicted wound to discredit our country and way of life.  How could the next leader of our country use this moment to promote a divisive narrative?

The provocative argument that compares last week’s insurrection in DC to the post-George Floyd riots in DC is pointless, futile, and serves no positive purpose.  The President-elect threw fuel on this fringe perspective.  His shallow political message immediately undid the good Biden attempted a day earlier.  Every new president promises to be a “uniter” but actions speak louder than campaign promises.

To be clear, I am not comparing Biden’s behavior to Trump’s or claiming his intent was malicious. One way or another Biden will be our President next week, not Trump.  The question is, which Biden will we get?  The inspirational Biden of January 6, who ran on a platform of Unite for a Better America?  Or the divisive Biden of January 7, who pandered to the MSNBC crowd. 

Whatever you think about Joe Biden, the election results or the accusations of fraud, our county needs our new President to be the former, not the latter.

Paul King