The inauguration address by Joe Biden was a striking departure from the last inaugural address that focused morbidly on “American Carnage.” Who could have imagined how prescient that dark portrait of a broken nation was at the time Donald Trump painted it? If he was successful at anything, it was at achieving – temporarily – the dystopian vision he embraced even onto the very last minutes of his term.
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Pres. Biden, on the other hand, delivered a speech (video below) that contained the sort of soaring rhetoric that his critics assert he is incapable of. He began with a triumphant nod to the failed Trump Insurrection that took place just two weeks ago, saying that “Democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile. And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.” And Biden closed saying that “Together we shall write an American story of hope, not fear. Of unity, not division.”
The dominant theme of Biden’s speech, like his campaign, was unity. It’s a word that he used eleven times in the unusually brief address. He was clear-eyed about the challenges that our nation faces, and he recognized that…
“To overcome these challenges, to restore the soul and secure the future of America, requires so much more than words. It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy, unity. Unity.”
Likewise, Biden was well aware of the idealistic tone of his theme, saying that…
“I know speaking of unity can sound to some like a foolish fantasy these days. I know that the forces that divide us are deep and they are real. But I also know they are not new. 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.”
However, those obstacles haven’t dulled Biden’s optimism. Just as he has throughout his career in public life, Biden put his faith in the human hunger for harmony, imploring that…
“History, faith, and reason show the way, the way of unity. We can see each other, not as adversaries, but as neighbors. We can treat each other with dignity and respect. We can join forces, stop the shouting, and lower the temperature. For without unity, there is no peace, only bitterness and fury.”
Speaking of “bitterness and fury,” Fox News spent Inauguration Eve exhuming it in buckets. They are proving that it is their intention to become even more blatantly biased in the post-Trump era.
On Laura Ingraham’s Hour of Sour, she began the program with her baseless assertion that “Team Biden Turns Against America.” The segment led off with her ludicrous claim that the “left” believes that “America is an inherently evil country.” She came to that conclusion after seeing National Guard troops deployed in Washington, D.C. to prevent more violence like that caused by Trump’s Seditionist Brigades. Ingraham charged that the frightful military presence was the work of Democrats, despite the fact that they were ordered to deploy by Republican run Departments of Defense and Justice.
Even worse was Tucker Carlson’s White Nationalist Hour on Fox News. On Monday Carlson spent an hour trying to incite more violence. And Tuesday’s program was devoted to the proposition that the “Democratic Party is planning a war on half of America.” He babbled feverishly that…
“If you’re one of the many in our professional class who has made hating Donald Trump the very center of your life, this has got to be a pretty good day for you. You won. Your party now has control of everything. By tomorrow afternoon Donald Trump will be gone for good. You got exactly what you wanted. You should be thrilled about that. You should be celebrating. But they’re not celebrating. That’s the remarkable thing. No one in the Democratic Party seems happy tonight.”
If Carlson hasn’t seen the ecstatic celebrations of Democrats across the nation/world, he must be having severe delusions from having had to go cold turkey on Trump tweets for the past couple of weeks. More likely, Carlson is just being his abnormal, arrogant, and irrationally hostile self. Rather than observing the reality of tens of millions of Democrats rapt in joy, Carlson imagines that they are attacking Trump voters, saying that “These 74 million are, in fact, terrorists.”
To be sure, there are Democrats who rightfully believe that Trump and other Republicans who violated the law should face justice. It’s what Trump called “law and order,” but which he and his cult disciples now repudiate. That, however, is not an indictment of everyone who voted for Trump. That is a figment of Carlson’s diseased imagination.
Pres. Biden’s goal of unity is an honorable and worthwhile one. The nation needs healing. But healing can only occur when the wounds are treated and protected from further infection. That comes in the form of accountability. “Without accountability,” says Republican Rick Wilson in USA Today, “unity will be an illusion, an invitation to further, deeper, more dangerous division. With accountability, the nation has a genuine chance to come together and move forward.” And that means accountability for Trump as well as as his Sedition Caucus in Congress and media accomplices.
Returning to Biden’s speech, he covered some of what needs to be addressed with regard to the trust Americans will have for their politicians and the press going forward. It’s a critical issue that must not be swept aside in the quest for unity. It is, in fact, a requirement for unity:
“Politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire, destroying everything in its path. Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war. And we must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated, and even manufactured. […] There is truth and there are lies, lies told for power and for profit.”
These are among the most profound thoughts of any presidential inauguration speech. Hopefully they will be heeded and applied to both Democrats and Republicans – as well as the media itself – as we recover from the lie-riddled landscape left by Trump and his abomination of an administration.
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How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.