sticks and stones may break my bones
Phew. TFFT. So, the fateful 20th January 2021 and the inauguration of President Biden mercifully passed without major event. Being an avid Jack Reacher reader I was genuinely concerned that fiction of the alt-right could easily become fact. The second impeachment, the first in 222 years of Presidential history, of The Don highlights that the new incumbent is choosing not to ignore four years of unprecedented scandal and corruption but, and far from me to complain about this, he has bigger fish to fry as he attempts to unify a country seemingly at war with itself.
Personally, the past four years have crystallised into one single element, one that focuses the mind and places all his other crimes and misdemeanours into perspective: the Big Lie. It is this that everything else radiates from, the Big Lie about the United States election. It consigns his ridiculous ‘Birther’ claim of Obama, the ‘Crooked Hilary’ jibe, his complicit support of QAnon conspiracy theorists, praising white supremacists and the slight of ‘Bad Hombres’ from Mexico, quite rightly to the relative school playground. Even now, only 20% of Republicans consider the election free and fair and tens of millions continue to believe the true outcome was incomprehensibly stolen from them. “The lie outlasts the liar” wrote historian Timothy Snyder, darkly noting that fifteen years separated Nazi Germany’s own Big Lie concerning the Jewish involvement in WWI and Hitler’s eventual ascendency to power. Somehow the Big Lie needs to be addressed. And quick.
By purely not being Donald Trump, there is a wave of understandable optimism accompanying the appointment of the 46th POTUS. But, contrary to popular opinion, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr has not always been the veritable saint parts of the media wish to portray him as. Biden, the politician, has been criticised for his conservative stance on issues including abortion funding and gay marriage, as well as his support for the 2003 Iraq invasion. More shockingly was his opposition to the ‘busing’ of black students to schools in predominantly white regions of Delaware and his subsequent support of the 1994 crime bill which actively contributed to America’s high incarceration rates amongst black men. Not good, Joe, not good at all.
Throughout his seventy-eight years, President Biden has had to continually put-up with name-calling. At school, a debilitating stutter earned him the cruel nickname “Bye-Bye Joe” on account of his inability to easily say his surname and, in a sure-fire case of ‘the pot calling the kettle black’ Trump delighted in taunting him on the campaign trail with ‘Sleepy Joe’. As a young senator, the journalistic in-joke was apparently to refer to him as D-Del TBPT (Touched By Personal Tragedy). My favourite however, is ‘Amtrak Joe’, a nickname derived from his tedious twice-daily ninety-minute mission between Wilmington and Washington, a journey he swore-to undertake in order to see his two sons every single night. Strangely enough I can’t quite envisage The Trumpinator putting himself out to the same level to tuck Barron in on a nightly basis.