Since election day last November, when Joe Biden eked out a narrow victory over Donald Trump, one without a significant mandate for much of anything except to lower the temperature on both sides in this seriously divided nation, the principal question has been how will Biden seek to govern–with the moderate instincts that have been his habit for almost five decades in public office or to do the bidding of the firebrands in the progressive left of his party, the most immoderate group in town?
In his rhetoric beginning with inauguration day, he made most of the right gestures to play the role of a uniter, using the word unity in his speech countless times and in phrases like “we must unite as we have in crises past–if we do, everything is possible”, “we must end this uncivil war”, “disagreement must not lead to disunion”, “every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war”, “politics need not be a raging fire”, and on and on.
But then he marched into the Oval Office after the ceremony and proceeded to sign more executive orders in the next nine days than all of his five predecessors combined over the same period, and every one of them checked a box on the progressive left’s wish list, with extra credit for those that reversed an order executed by Donald Trump. The cognitive dissonance with what we had just heard was stunning.
And then I began to realize what “unity” actually means for him and his party: it’s pretty much all about coming around and getting on board with their point of view. This phrase in his speech was instructive: “Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we all are created equal, and the harsh ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear, demonization have long torn us apart”. Translated: the political divides we face are primarily between those who believe in our American ideals and those who are racists and nativists. In fact, as Heather MacDonald noted after the speech, it’s clear that the number one domestic policy effort will be a “war” on systemic racism, “white supremacy”, and “domestic terrorism”.
So let’s hear it for “unity”, while we commission the ministry of truth to “re-educate” and “re-program” the 74 million dissidents.