President Biden’s ‘exciting’ inauguration speech, during which President Clinton nodded off, included a lot of platitudes about unifying the United States of America.
But words are cheap. The question is how to unify a deeply divided nation where close to half of the voters have voted for President Trump. Accusing the outgoing President alone for this division will not do. After all, 74% of those who voted for President Trump believe that the election was stolen from them. I do not believe that, but I believe that the cause of the division does not lie with president Trump alone. The media bias against him, the high-tech bias against him, the entertainment industry bias against him and the never-ending witch-hunt by the Democrats against him and his base of the working-class Americans (the deplorables) all contributed to this societal division. So, to unify the nation, President Biden will need to articulate a clear roadmap how to achieve this and how to reach out to President Trump’s base.
Executive actions by President Biden to undo many important policies of President Trump will also not do help to unify the USA. Even the left leaning media is questioning the ‘frenzy’ of executive actions by President Biden. For example, the New York Times headlined in one of their recent editorial ‘Ease up on the Executive Action, Joe”.
But there is a way to unify the USA. But president But President Biden must stop taking about unification and start doing it. Here is a step-by-step road map for the new President to unify the divided United States of America.
2. Step1; denounce the extreme elements on both sides of politics
The occupation of the Capitol on the 6th of January is unacceptable by any measure. The deaths of a police man and another four people during that invasion deeply saddening. The occupancy of the Bellingham (Wash.) City Hall a few days later by left wing elements is also unacceptable just as the Antifa led violence on the evening of the 24th of January 2021 in Tacoma and the violence and death of civilians and law enforcement agents during the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests. The destruction of properties and businesses by some extreme left-wing elements during the BLM protests are also unacceptable. The main stream media coverage of these events has been unbalanced. For example, the killing of an unarmed army veteran during the occupation of the Capitol and the subsequent investigation of how or why and by whom she was killed, has not been followed up unlike many of the law enforcement activities during the BLM protests.
The new President must denounce extreme elements with the same conviction on both sides of the political divide if he wants to unify the nation. It is not enough to talk about ‘white supremacists’ (whatever he means by that), but he also has to call out the violence of the left.
3.Step2: stop the trial of President Trump in the Senate
It is not obvious to me whether constitutionally the trial of president Trump by the US Senate can be stopped or not.
Either way, the President could negotiate with the Speakers of both Houses and the leaders of the Republicans in both houses not to convict President Trump. If the trial goes ahead, it is not obvious that President Trump will be found guilty. In fact, my expectation is that he will not be found guilty. Therefore, President Biden has very little downside in trying to influence the impeachment process beyond upsetting that, vindictive Congress woman Nancy Pelosi. But he has a huge upside. All the Trump supporters would appreciate his conciliatory action.
This would be a huge step in unifying a divided nation.
4.Step3; recognise and build on President Trump’s economic and political achievements
Whatever you may think of President Trump as an individual (and there is a lot to dislike about him), he has done a lot for his country.
He managed the US economy well. During his presidency, the US economy had an exceptionally high growth rate (even if it was not the highest ever), one of the lowest levels of unemployment, including for African Americans, low corporate taxes and real wage increases. Of course, the COVID-19 year of 2020 destroyed some of these achievements. Internationally, his achievements are just as outstanding. He also allocated 2 billion dollars to help the development of a COVID-19 vaccine and rolled out the vaccination of one million per day. He signed numerous peace agreements in the Middle East, he stood up to China and Iran, he tried to negotiate with North Korea, and he has achieved significant increases of contribution to NATO from other member countries. He has withdrawn from the Paris Climate Agreement, which is more virtue signalling than actual road map to solving the issue of global warming. No wonder that many of the participating countries have not met their nominated targets under the Paris Agreement and that virtue signalling President Biden has already re-joined this agreement.
President Biden could help to unify the US by recognising the above achievements and actually give credit to President Trump for them.
5.Step4; call all Americans ‘Americans’
When I escaped from behind the iron curtain and became a refugee in Austria, I joined a long queue of refugees who were applying to legally enter into the free world.
I could have applied to go to the USA, Canada or Australia. I did not apply to go to the USA, because in my naïve young mind at the time I felt that the racial problem in the US is intractable. Sadly, almost fifty decades later this is still the case. I applied to come to Australia and luckily got accepted.
I am sure there are many explanations for the racial divisions in the US, but for me one of the most outstanding cause is language. There is an institutionalised discrimination, labelling people by their racial origin. The most frequently used term is African-American, but you also hear Italian- American and Irish-American. Contrast that to Australia where one third of the Australian population was not born in Australia according the 2016 Census. Despite that, we do not have English- Australians or Chinese- Australians, we are all Australians. It is not surprising that we have less racial tensions in Australia. And this is pretty much true in other Western countries as well (UK and Germany). As George Orwell said ‘if you control the language, you control how people think’.
President Biden should remember the power of language and instead of celebrating his Vice – President as a woman of colour, he should try to unite the nation by calling all Americans ‘Americans’ regardless of their ethnic origin.
President Biden aims to unite the currently deeply divided United nation of America.
But words are cheap, he needs a road map to achieve this.
He should stop blaming President Trump alone for the division and recognise the role of the Democrats and the media in that as well.
He should aim to stop and/or influence the vindictive impeachment process of President Trump.
He should embrace President Trump’s economic and political achievement and build on it.
He should call all Americans ‘Americans’ regardless of their ethnic origin.