Joe the Uniter? Early opportunities have been missed

The one message of Joe Biden’s basement campaign to become president of the United States was that he would unite us.

It was transmitted in staged news conferences where the chosen few hurled softball questions to match teleprompter-level answers.

Biden got elevated in a COVID-injected election that deserves an asterisk, with legal challenges stretching from Nevada to federal court in Williamsport.

It’s easy to say you understand those who did not vote for you. Biden has been good at platitudes for five decades. That’s not enough. If he wants to unite, he has to act.

Two Saturdays ago, instead of merely saying he would be president for all Americans, Biden should have joined President Trump in calling for a closer examination of the voting process, particularly given the amount of mail-in voting and seismic shifts overnight following election day in several battleground states.

That would have acknowledged nearly 73 million people who voted for President Trump, (a vote total that left President Obama in the dust) cooled emotions and created unity. He should be leading the charge to assure future presidential elections, no matter who wins, produce results people can trust.

About two-thirds of the country probably does not have much confidence in the accuracy of this election’s results, for reasons ranging from fraud to human error to questionable mail-in vote count procedures. Hillary Clinton publicly told Biden before the election that, should he lose, he should challenge results until he ultimately wins. There are 73 million people who will never accept Biden as president if he does not acknowledge this process is below our democracy’s standards. Because of a mysterious vote count and campaign, Biden has to earn the country’s unity.

He can do that by insisting our presidential voting system must be better and more transparent.

Twice in seven days following Biden’s celebatory speech, Pfizer and Moderna announced coronavirus vaccine success that has the country near a solution to this cruel pandemic.

Biden called it good news but emphasized his own task force and measures they will take, most of them not markedly different from what’s been done. The emphasis has been on shutdowns that would economically cripple the country.

The correct action would start with a thank you to science personnel, followed by embracing of a military-executed disbursal plan and a public rebuke of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo said his state will not accept a vaccine until Biden takes office, citing an unequal distribution plan and distrust of the president.

The disbursal plan includes priorities for such places as Indian reservations and clinics in low-income neighborhoods. Cuomo is endangering his own state over political pettiness with no basis in fact. To unite, Biden should be telling Americans to accept the vaccine, given the cynicism toward it his own running mate has fueled.

Last weekend, while the president’s team was pursuing its legal right to appeal election outcomes in several states where results deserve questioning, thousands of Trump’s supporters held a peaceful rally in Washington.

Many were assaulted by Antifa and Black Lives Matter people. A night later, President Obama hurled a verbal assault, comparing Trump’s lawful examination to “the stuff that dictators do.”

Biden should have been publicly critical of Antifa, Black Lives Matter and, yes, his former boss. Instead, the only group singled out in Biden’s statement reacting to the violence were white supremacists who were not a presence.

There is a reason plywood was removed from store fronts when the media declared Biden the winner. Clearly, concerns for riots were only related to left wing anarchists.

To unite, instead of hiding behind the media’s contrived slant, Biden should be calling out who is really causing the unrest.

I have rolled my eyes at Trump’s demeanor and tweets so many times the past four years that part of my cornea is permanently lodged in my brow. I imagine I have company among people who, based on policy, voted for him.

We like tax reform that benefits 80 percent of the people, 3 percent unemployment, record employment of Black people, enterprise zones in low-income neighborhoods, a practical peace plan in the Mideast, energy independence, a stock market that bolsters 401-k plans for regular Americans and a private-public partnership that produces a pandemic-ending vaccine in record time. That’s probably why Republicans won congressional seats nationwide, adding to curiosity/cynicism over the presidential vote.

How do those policies make us racists worthy of an enemies list, particularly when eight million of us previously voted for Obama to become the nation’s first Black president?

Biden had the presidency handed to him by a complicit media and big tech, which chose to ignore a non-campaign and censor anyone asking real questions about what we are getting ourselves into.

That’s why there is division.

We desperately need him to act on his promise of unity. We need more than a feckless, 50-year politician leading us.

David F. Troisi is retired as editor of the Sun-Gazette.


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