Wednesday Night Owls: Biden calls for ‘unity,’ but healing will be tough in deeply divided nation

Wednesday Night Owls: Biden calls for ‘unity,’ but healing will be tough in deeply divided nation

Night Owls is a themed open thread appearing at Daily Kos seven days a week.  

At Mother Jones, David Corn writes—Joe Biden’s Inaugural Address Was a Plea for “Unity.” But Healing the Nation’s “Soul” Won’t Be Easy. Can he both implement his policies and unify a bitterly divided country?

[…] Addressing the nation as president, Biden recognized that the fight for unity is largely a fight for truth. “What are the common objects we as Americans love, that define us as Americans?” he asked. “I think we know: opportunity, security, liberty, dignity, respect, honor, and yes, the truth.” He continued: “Recent weeks and months have taught us a painful lesson. There is truth and there are lies. Lies told for power and for profit. And each of us has a duty and a responsibility as citizens, as Americans, and especially as leaders. Leaders who are pledged to honor our Constitution to protect our nation. To defend the truth and defeat the lies.” There was nothing subtle here: Biden was indicting Trump and his Republican partners-in-disinformation for pushing the big lie that the election was fraudulent. And he was pointing out that if Americans cannot agree upon reality, unity cannot be reached.

Yet how to usher in an era of truth in politics? And with Biden’s election, has anything changed within the political culture? “I know speaking of unity can sound to some like a foolish fantasy these days,” Biden said. “I know the forces that divide us are deep and they are real.” Still, he told the country, decency, tolerance, and faith in a common purpose can overcome: “We must meet this moment.”

Necessity does not always dictate results. On this front, Biden faces a daunting task. Trump is bequeathing to Biden a highly fractured society, in which a number of Americans are enthralled with crazy conspiratorial notions and committed to warring—for some, literally—with the incoming president and other perceived foes of their America. Trump brownshirts and white supremacists vow violence to come; QAnoners promise to continue their battle against reality. Elected Republican officials pander to extremist elements. Millions see the government in the hands of a diabolical enemy force that must be vanquished.

An inauguration speech cannot heal all this. Nor can kind and good intentions. Biden, Harris, and their crew of experienced and passionate policymakers want to confront the gargantuan issues at hand that Biden explicitly identified in his speech: the pandemic, the walloped economy, climate change, systemic racism, and so on. “It’s time for boldness,” Biden asserted. And a majority of the country are on his side. He and Harris won more votes. Their policy ideas tend to be popular. They have a majority—albeit small—in the House and a razor-thin one in the Senate. They have plans, and they possess power. They can move forward on many fronts without GOP cooperation. Rescuing the vaccination effort, constructing a humane immigration policy, enforcing environmental and financial regulations—none of that requires Republican buy-in in Congress. And in the hours after the inauguration, the Biden White House moved swiftly to implement new policies. […]




I really can’t believe it. But we beat a multi-billion dollar corporation, settler-state governments and miles upon miles of paperwork. We mobilized thousands. We disobeyed and were arrested. We fought with everything. Because it was necessary. We beat Keystone XL!

— Dallas Goldtooth (@dallasgoldtooth) January 21, 2021


“This is a time of testing. We face an attack on democracy and on truth. A raging virus. Growing inequity. The sting of systemic racism. A climate in crisis. America’s role in the world. Any one of these would be enough to challenge us in profound ways. But the fact is we face them all at once, presenting this nation with the gravest of responsibilities. Now we must step up. All of us. It is a time for boldness, for there is so much to do. And, this is certain. We will be judged, you and I, for how we resolve the cascading crises of our era. Will we rise to the occasion? Will we master this rare and difficult hour? Will we meet our obligations and pass along a new and better world for our children? I believe we must and I believe we will. And when we do, we will write the next chapter in the American story.” ~~President Joe Biden, January 20, 2021.


On this date at Daily Kos in 2017—Whose inauguration is that on Donald Trump’s Twitter background?

It would have been difficult to find a picture of a densely enough packed crowd at Donald Trump’s inauguration, so it seems they took the easy route.

Trust me, guys. A lot of us would rather relive that day than this one, too. But now that people are paying attention, I’m sure there are minions scouring the photos for something to make today’s crowd look like something it wasn’t.

Donald Trump’s new Twitter background is a photo from the inauguration of Barack Obama:

— Slate (@Slate) January 20, 2017

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