To: The Narcissist in Chief
I’m betting you took a pass on watching Joe Biden’s speech last night after all the Electoral College votes had been cast and his win affirmed. I’m also betting that if you had watched you would’ve scoffed and belittled him for being conciliatory and weak, for insisting that he’ll be president to everyone whether we voted for him or didn’t. He didn’t say it explicitly, but he also made clear that he plans to be president to us all whether we accepted his win outright or continue to buy into the lies you’re peddling.
I didn’t watch his speech last night either, but after reading the WP opinion pieces by Jennifer Rubin and Amber Phillips this morning I found a copy of it on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSqCh6e0XgU) and watched it through. Both Rubin and Phillips gave Biden plenty of props, but they also remarked fairly pointedly on his willingness to give Republicans the benefit of the doubt (Phillips) and on his largesse around you having had full access to the courts for hearings on your fraudulent claims (Rubin).
Phillips described Biden’s remarks on the tenacity of our democracy as a naïve “cup half full” take that isn’t supported by experts on distressed democracies, experts who see the attacks leveled on the election outcome by you and the GOPP (recall, yours is now the Grand Old Pathetic Party) as extremely dangerous and consequential, not actions we can shrug off and put in the rearview mirror. And Rubin takes issue with what sounded like Biden having normalized and condoned the extraordinarily asinine and cynical lengths you, Rudy, and the troops went to in bringing frivolous lawsuit after frivolous lawsuit to the courts. She didn’t call out the money-making angle that was so clearly driving most of that bullshit, but she did warn that by describing what you all did in such reasonable terms that he’s leaving the door open for this to happen again and again.
I get their dismay. I get how disappointing and deflating it was (and is) to hear Biden doing his best Biden and sticking with the rah-rah for unity way of approaching things. I’d love to see him channeling the outrage and righteous indignation that so many of us feel over what you all have put us through. I’d love to see him spitting mad as he shreds you and your tyrannical aspirations to bits. And maybe if I were fortunate enough to be a fly on the wall that could understand human speech and emotion, I’d see all these reactions in his private spaces. But as an ordinary citizen, I very much doubt I’ll ever get even a glimpse of that Joe Biden – he can’t afford to let that Joe Biden out in public, there’s too much riding on his every word and gesture for him to break role.
What the hell am I talking about here? Why, for goodness sake, is it better to have a president elect (and in 36 days, president) who simultaneously affirms his victory and reaches out to the opposition that has attempted to use every conceivable dirty trick to undermine the people’s will? Sounds kind of nutso, doesn’t it? Why not blast you all from here to kingdom come?
Well, if there weren’t a pandemic and a horrible economic crisis going on then maybe he could afford to call you all out in no uncertain terms. But he cannot do this now because much like the battered wife who has to keep her kids safe and fed by appeasing her husband, Biden knows that any anger or blame or ridicule he lays at your feet will be taken up by One America and the Fox talk show hosts to sow more distrust and rage, which will in turn lead more people to refuse to be vaccinated and to further reject public health guidance. It could also put more local and state officials in danger. In other words, your side is primed to latch on to and exploit any moves he makes that might be cast as partisan and the stakes are far too high to risk that right now.
And so we get Biden playing his best Biden because he knows all our lives depend on him doing so convincingly, unwaveringly.
May we be safe as we navigate from now to then.
May we be willing to give peacemakers the benefit of the doubt.
May we recognize that willingness to take the tippy top high road is a sign of strength.
May we accept that an angry dressing down of our current POTUS by our next POTUS must wait.