By Scott Costen
STABILITY. Civility. Respectability.
If nothing else, Joe Biden will restore some measure of these qualities to the US presidency.
He will be less combative with the media than his predecessor. He will be more collegial with his political opponents.
And he will even institute token reforms that alleviate, however slightly, the suffering of the burgeoning ranks of America’s poor.
But while Biden’s election has prompted giddy celebrations at home, it will ring hollow, if it registers at all, to victims of US foreign policy in places like Palestine, Yemen and Latin America.
This is not to say a Biden presidency isn’t preferable to a Trump second term. Of course it is.
But the difference between the two will be mostly a matter of style than substance.
Have we forgotten how eagerly Biden supported the illegal and unjustified invasion of Iraq?
Have we forgotten how he served as “wing man” to a president who brought drone warfare to new levels?
And, are we forgetting that he opposes medicare for all, a Green New Deal, and any meaningful realignment of police powers or resources?
Joe Biden, like the neoliberalism he represents, is a malignant and increasingly spent force.
He is completely out of touch with the millions of economically and racially marginalized voters who had no viable option but to propel him to power.
Black Lives Matter may have grown dramatically under Donald Trump, but it is not a product of his presidency.
On the contrary, the movement began midway through Barack Obama’s highly mythologized but objectively disappointing tenure as president.
Obama, with Biden at his side, did little more than Trump to address horrific and repeated examples of police violence against Black Americans.
However, unlike Trump, Obama at least conveyed the illusion of caring.
Those empty words and performative gestures helped preserve Obama’s reputation, just as Trump’s complete lack of visible empathy helped destroy his.
Some observers fear Biden may no longer be fit to endure the rigours of office.
There is even speculation he may leave office before completing his full four-year term.
If that were to happen, power would be transferred to vice-president elect Kamala Harris, whose pointed criticisms of Biden during the Democratic primary have been conveniently forgotten.
While Harris may be a source of inspiration for reaching high office as a Black woman with Indian ancestry, she also has a long and dubious track record on criminal justice.
That, along with her sudden loss of enthusiasm for medicare for all, suggests she would simply follow the well-worn Democratic party line should she assume even more power.
So, go ahead and celebrate the imminent departure of the loudest and crudest imbecile to ever darken the White House doors.
But do so knowing his replacement is a modest – and mostly cosmetic – improvement.
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