If Biden wants unity, start with asking conservatives what they want, and then let them speak freely
“What do you want?”
It's a question many of us frequently hear. Be it from a gum chewing teenager behind the counter at the ice cream shop or your spouse quizzing the children for their birthday and Christmas lists early, people are constantly probing for what will satiate the desires of another. In business, it’s more than a casual question; your clients’ goodwill and patronage depend on it.
The same could be said for politics, where office seekers and holders consult public opinion gatherers for clues on what the people want. I’ve often thought liberal Democrats don’t care what their own constituents truly desire, instead concentrating on the needs and demands of the party’s special interests. Take school choice, for example. Many, many poor parents whose children are mired in failing inner city systems would love an opportunity to send their youngsters to a charter school -- or a private school with a reputation for academic excellence and discipline. Who cares? Liberals would rather grind the gears of government to generate more coin for public schools driven by teachers unions.
That’s just one instance. Down the line, Democrats think they know best and ignore what the people demand. It’s the reason an ambitious man with questionable social skills like Donald Trump got as far as he did, which is win election to the most powerful job in the world. Whether his opponents would admit it or not, Trump excelled -- at least in the beginning -- at garnering the hopes of the people and simply… offered them what they wanted.
Now it’s Joe Biden’s turn. As of next Wednesday, at noon eastern, the 78-year-old, near half-century Washington, D.C. swamp dweller will be called “Mr. President” and be tasked with giving us what we ask for -- or in conservatives’ case, a lot of what we don’t want.
The first piece of advice for Grampa Joe comes on how not to act, courtesy of Michael Goodwin at the New York Post. Goodwin wrote this week, “My prediction is that we are watching the early innings of a movement to criminalize political speech. There already are efforts on the left to criminalize ‘hate’ speech and the next step is obvious: label as hate speech anything the left doesn’t like.
“Rules to that end are in effect on many college campuses, and ‘woke’ corporations and government offices increasingly embrace restrictions on what people can say about politics and politicians. Penalties, including suspension, expulsion and firing, are now common for those who dare say unsayable things.
“Unfortunately, the question is not whether a far-left government will follow suit. The only question is how long will it take before saying something the ruling class doesn’t want to hear is a crime?”
A sage observation. If Biden hopes to toss a unity bone to a kennel full of ravenous conservative dogs, he’d better step up quickly to guarantee that all people are free to speak their minds on whatever political topic they desire and not fear repercussions from the elite class for potentially unwelcome thoughts and arguments. It wasn’t all that long ago that Americans’ First Amendment rights were considered unassailable by anyone not dressed in black and wielding a hammer or other instrument used to break windows and wreak havoc.
Political ideas weren’t always considered dangerous. Inflammatory maybe, but not hazardous. This changed over the course of time as political correctness infiltrated society like a weed in an ornate garden. It soon became taboo to utter words or expressions deemed “unacceptable” to the sensitive lot. I first recall hearing the term “political correctness” while chatting with a classmate during a break at law school in the early 90’s. I didn’t even know what it meant and asked for a clarification.
She answered, “Well, you should describe a person as ‘physically challenged’ instead of ‘handicapped.’ The latter term implies that being ‘disabled’ means they’re lesser or incapable.” Well, it does mean a person in a wheelchair can’t mount a flight of stairs, doesn’t it? It doesn’t diminish them or take away their humanity, just points out that they can’t walk or run like most people. Compared with practically every professional athlete, we’re all “physically challenged,” aren’t we? (Would a golfer carrying a handicap be considered “skills or strokes challenged”?)
Such are the conversations law students engage in. No wonder lawyers are argumentative.
This includes Joe Biden, of course. Biden could earn much praise early on in his presidency by speaking out in favor of protections for free speech. But he shows absolutely zero inclination to do so. As Goodwin pointed out in his op-ed, Democrats are impeaching Donald Trump for the second time because of something he said, which they interpreted as inciting insurrection. Biden also suggested Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz were “spreading the big lie” about election irregularities, comparing them to Nazis.
Biden also played the race card -- again -- by claiming if Black Lives Matter had tried to break into the capitol building that they’d be roughly handled by the cops, unlike the mostly white Trump crowd. What evidence is there for this? A good case could be made that Biden’s statement was every bit as inciteful as anything Trump said. It drives a wedge between racial groups. So much for “healing” the country’s wounds and “restoring the soul of the nation.” Maybe if the capital police had stood by as the rioters burned down the building it would be a fair comparison.
Educated folk know it’s almost impossible to win a libel or slander suit where political speech is at issue because the standard of proof is so high. Therefore, Biden has already engaged in labeling and inciting without any fear of reproach. Will the rhetoric cease? What’s unifying about calling conservatives “deplorables” -- racists, sexists, homophobes, xenophobes -- and in the next breath demanding they be silenced?
Liberals like Biden portend to love the First Amendment, yet only if it protects their end of the ideological spectrum. Hollywood celebrities are often the first to jump onto social media if the occasion calls for it, yet their inflammatory or threatening rhetoric is passed off as a “joke” or unserious if they’re ever challenged over it. As expected, the establishment media supports and nourishes the double standard.
If Biden is honest about listening to people who didn’t vote for him (as he insists), he would protect everyone’s right to free speech. Busting up the Big Tech oligarch would be a good place to start, as well as revoking Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. Put the necessary beef behind the bluster, Joe, and people will begin to see you’re sincere about representing everyone.
The longer Biden perpetuates the myth that conservatives are dangerous because of their beliefs or willingness to challenge accepted liberal orthodoxy, the more resentment will build. Millions of American citizens felt their rights were violated during the Chinese Communist Party (CCP, or Wuhan, if you prefer) virus restrictions and lockdowns. They also felt powerless to speak out about it. It led to the contentious 2020 election. We need more speech, not less.
Conservatives’ “I Want” list is actually quite long, Joe
Free speech is the cornerstone of the American republic, but there are other things Joe Biden could do to win some semblance of trust from the governed. Beyond the obvious ones … you know, like telling Beto O’Rourke to get a real job and stop threatening to take away everyone’s constitutionally protected gun rights… or resigning the office of the presidency after he and Kamala Harris are exposed and indicted as two-face opportunists… or taking a cognitive function test and promising to step down if he’s deemed to not be smarter than a fifth grader, Grampa Joe could:
--Acknowledge that there were aspects of the election, such as mail-in voting, that need to be investigated and corrected. If voting is indeed the ultimate responsibility of an informed citizenry, then political leaders must be willing to ensure that people trust it. Such faith can only be restored by candidly conceding that mail-in voting, like it was done this year, cannot be conducted in a foolproof manner, complete with signature checks, voter ID and various forms of authentication. If Joe Biden can’t at least give us this, there’s not much else to talk about. Every election from here on out will be in question. Ready for a 2020 redux in 2024?
--On Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday, which is today (it would’ve been his 92nd), I would be remiss if I didn’t tell Joe Biden that Americans want to realize the civil rights leader’s dream of a colorblind society. That’s right, we really hope to be judged by the content of our characters rather than the color of our skin. Make MLK’s “dream” a reality. This means ditching mandatory racial sensitivity training and disavowing history cancelling crapola like the divisive 1619 project. And flat-out dismiss any possibility of slavery reparations, which is patently unfair and hard to justify 155 years after the institution was abolished and well over 50 years since the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Can Grampa Joe take race out of the equation?
--Allow for a full and fair objective vetting of his son’s business dealings. Simply put, we need to know, Joe. We want to know how Hunter managed to secure a cushy position with a Ukrainian energy company (Burisma) without having any experience in the industry and not speaking the language. How about Hunter’s and your brother Jim’s deals with China that were consummated while you were the Big O’s veep? Or where did all that money go? Are you indeed the “Big Guy” that Hunter was supposed to withhold money for? How to fix? Should you “bring everyone” together as you’ve promised and invite Tony Bobulinski to the White House for a sit-down with the cameras clicking and microphones recording your every word?
--Acknowledge that his predecessor actually accomplished an amazing amount in his four years, all the while hounded by scandals his side dreamed up. We want Joe to admit that Hillary Clinton was behind the infamous Steele dossier. We want him to concede the Robert Mueller investigation was a waste of time and public resources, and lastly, what about the troop of deep state imbeciles like James Comey, John Brennan, James Clapper and Andrew McCabe? What’s the real story behind the FISA Court and surveilling Carter Page?
--Call off the attack dogs regarding Trump’s personal dealings before he was president. There’s precedent for it -- Donald Trump very publicly declared he had no plans to delve deeply into Hillary Clinton’s email matters after he was elected. Where did the messages go? We’ll probably never know, partly because Trump believed it would be a unifying gesture if the matter was dropped entirely. Trump did this despite resounding appeals to “Lock Her Up!” that would’ve sent his base into an enthusiastic, swamp-affronting tizzy. Trump deserves at least this much deference.
--If Joe brings Republicans into his administration, make sure they’re real ones, not the warmed over borderline traitors who made a career out of criticizing Trump (like Mitt Romney or John Kasich). Asking people who aren’t conservatives to represent real conservatives is insulting to those who believe in liberty and limited government. Finding someone like Colin Powell to serve in his administration doesn’t count either. Joe could just as well bring Bill Kristol on as his chief advisor and claim he’s getting advice from Republicans. Uh-uh.
--Tell his party’s leadership to leave the filibuster alone and that he wouldn’t support doing away with it. During the recently concluded campaign, Biden said he didn’t want to address questions on DC Statehood and court packing because it would distract from the “real” issues. Joe could keep his word by telling “Chucky” Schumer that he opposes nixing the senate filibuster tradition. That would save him the trouble of taking potentially unpopular positions in the first place, because he could leave it to Mitch McConnell and Republicans to filibuster the most damaging stuff from Nancy Pelosi, the “Squad” and Eric (I won’t say whether me and Fang Fang did the nasty) Swalwell.
--Lastly (there are a lot more but you have to end somewhere), we want Joe to take the high road. Not the kind that Hunter lives on every day, but when former President Trump or Republicans criticize him, don’t reply in kind. We realize that he’s probably not capable of such restraint having been conditioned to overreacting over the course of 48 years in the swamp, jumping on whomever dared question him. Face it, Joe’s darn good at dishing it out but not practiced at taking it. But if Joe will refrain from using words like “chump” or “malarkey” or calling someone a Nazi for disagreeing with him, he might win some well-deserved goodwill.
It won’t be easy for Joe Biden to win over conservatives. His record in office, his long history of unfair savaging of Republicans and conservatives and his spotty personal dealings will follow him everywhere he goes. Joe could even provide some fair criticism of his own party members when they deserve it. Can Biden do it? Don’t hold your breath.
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