If all has gone according to plan Joe Biden will be the President of the United States of America for thirteen hours by the time this article is published. As with any new administration there are a plethora of expectations. With the exception of the few still among us who were around on March 4, 1933 never has a change been this anticipated or necessary because America arguably hasn’t been in this bad of shape since then. That also makes the task more challenging which is what I want to explore today.
The nation is in the midst of the worst pandemic in its history and its economy is in disarray. While the outgoing Trump administration didn’t cause the pandemic it is difficult to envision a scenario where they could have done a worse job of managing it. Under Barack Obama I was among the many that were frustrated by the slow pace of recovery from George W. Bush’s Great Recession. (Thus far 21st century American history is a story of electing a Republican President and watching the economy crash.) Under Trump the velocity of economic improvement slowed until it finally crashed for all but the “gamblers” on Wall Street.
Obviously if we don’t contain the virus the economy won’t improve and nothing else will get fixed. The two are inextricably entwined and are job number one. They are not the only challenges especially if your political base is the big tent Democratic Party. As I commenced this writing I put together a list of the first ten issues that came to mind. They are: domestic terrorism, the economy, education, the environment, inequity, immigration, international relations, nuclear weapons, the pandemic and security. Those are just ten; I’m sure another ten could easily be added. All of them deserve to be the top priority but how big of a tie for number one is realistic?
The reality is that Biden is not taking over a smooth running machine; he is taking over a disaster. It is arguable that Trump was the worst president of all time; but if he wasn’t he is certainly in the discussion.
It takes a long time to build a house but only seconds or minutes for a fire or natural disaster to destroy it. An office seeker can tell a plethora of lies in a 30 second commercial. It takes considerably longer to refute a single one of them. Is government really that different? Is it reasonable to expect Biden to make everything OK in a matter of days? I doubt four years will be enough. The last time America was in this deep of a hole it took nearly 20 years of Democratic rule to get us out of it (March 1933-January 1953).
If you are a single issue voter (and I certainly hope you are not) and your issue isn’t immediately front and center please give the new team some time. Even multitasking has its limits. Don’t let a delay so overwhelm you with disappointment that you abandon the cause and become part of the problem instead of persevering toward a solution. Make certain your expectations are reasonable. When you get disappointed ask yourself if you would be better off with the next Trump. If you are honest with yourself the answer will certain be, “No”.
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