Jim Crawford: Being Joe Biden

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 15, 2021

You could say the Biden presidency began with the greatest series of crises since the Civil War and many would agree.

Can Biden measure up to the tasks that he faces? Can anyone save us from the precipice of a history jarred by treason and pandemic?

This president does have some strength behind him in the challenges he faces. Our courts stood strong against the Trump attempts to overthrow the 2020 elections.

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Our military stood aside, while discovering its internal crisis of radicalism within its ranks, and so remained strong for the nation.

Many of our elected officials in Washington, and in contested states, stood strong for democracy and protected the central marker of freedom, the vote, thus saving the nation.

And after taking office, President Joe Biden acted promptly to undo the most extreme and egregious executive orders issued by President Trump, returning foundational values to the country.

Biden nominated a slate of candidates for executive offices and secretary positions that reflected our diversity and that valued experience in government as criteria to serve.

It was a good beginning.

But there is so much more to be done, and so many expectations upon Biden to do so much.

The premiere crisis is restoring and unifying America after the division, sedition and, treason brought about by Donald Trump.

Biden must find what alienated many Americans so much that they betrayed their nation and distrusted all but a false leader. This task will take more than policies that acknowledge the needs of those left behind in this economy; it will require re-establishing the importance of truth and honesty in public discourse.

It will require regulating social media to stop encouraging conspiracy theories and violence as conflict resolution. And it will require holding those accountable who mislead and lied to the public to foment revolution.

Meanwhile, the pandemic continues to change its dangers with new variations and faster spreading rates of transmission. Gaining any degree of control will require research on adaptations to the vaccines that will contain the COVID-19 spread. Equally urgent is the production and distribution of all versions of the vaccines.

The initial rollout, largely unplanned by the Trump government, struggled to dispense the vaccine effectively.

The Biden team has acted quickly to organize a federal response, but, so far, the inefficiencies of distribution, and the limited quantities produced, continue to frustrate and anger anyone seeking to be vaccinated.

It is expected that it will be late April before these problems can be resolved, yet we must rush to vaccinate as many as possible with the British version of COVID-19 accelerating the spread of the virus.

To be Biden also means to find a path to opening all of our schools, saving our restaurants and all types of small businesses, all struggling with all-too-frequent openings and closings.

Biden must also find a path to work with Republicans somewhat effectively, at least until the 2022 elections, where he can hope to expand his congressional majorities.

Above all else, this president needs to find the opportunity today to re-discover America’s greatness, to find once again the unique and powerful strengths that have made the American Experiment the envy of the world.

From our division must come again our unity, for together we are always more.

American greatness is found not in what makes us different, but what makes us welcome our differences and from them generate strength.

Jim Crawford is a retired educator, political enthusiast and award-winning columnist living here in the Tri-State.