Demonizing the President

Biden in his anti-Trump/MAGA speech at Independence Hall. 1 September 2022

It’s not hard to demonize a president, and sometimes they make it even easier. The Hitler-esque fists and the demon-red lighting on the facade of Independence Hall in this photo of Mr. Biden would be easy to criticize, even if the speech had been about something as benign as butterflies or wedding mints.

It is interesting to note, though, that both of these figures (the clinched fists and the color red) are well-known symbols, and one wonders whether these choices were made intentionally so as to fuel the fire of Republican pushback against Mr. Biden’s dangerous speech. One wonders whether Biden (or whomever his handlers may be) is deliberately trying to instigate violence. If so, he can certainly do as many before him have done: pretend that he had no part in it.

This is what Mr. Lincoln did when he sent warships into Charleston harbor after the State of South Carolina had legally seceded from the United States. He expected the ships to be fired upon, and planned to use this as “just” cause to wage total war against those independent nations that had exercised their right to leave this Union. And the more Lincoln pushed, the more states left. Those that had looked for a way to hold on gave up that hope as Lincoln’s tyranny expanded.

But is this the way the Union states saw it? Nope. They were influenced by my-side bias to see the transgression as belonging wholly to the seceding states. And that’s the official story, even to this day. And my-side bias hasn’t gone anywhere. Democrats are still as apt to overlook Biden’s transgressions against the Rule of Law as Republicans are to overlook Trump’s.

To a Republican, Biden’s tyranny is plain as day. (To me, too, though I’m not a Republican.) And to a Democrat, Trump’s tyranny is plain as day. (To me, too, though I’m not a Democrat.) But who keeps score for both sides? Who keeps track of both the good and the bad that a president does? Who is objective about such things?

Well, the number will be small, and probably does not include many members of the two major parties, for my-side bias is the name of the game in those parties. It’s what they do. Members are often manipulated into choosing what they don’t want, because it’s better than what the other side is being manipulated into choosing. Many evils are tolerated because they are, at least, better than the evils of the opposing party.

And this is how we got on this slippery slope, where the one side runs head-long while the other is happy to run downhill, too, but would simply like to do so at a slower pace.

I have long hoped for a sweeping governmental reform in this country, but now I see that it is as unlikely as is a sweeping religious—or any other kind—of reform. There are some deeply-righteous people, but they are generally far too few in number to have any impact on the affairs of national government. Most have compromised themselves enough that they actually play into the division and the corruption, whether they choose to see it that way or not.

And so it is always easy to demonize the other side’s president. And it always will be. And even if they make use of the classic imagery, as Biden does here, that’s OK, because it’s still quite common in politics just to make up a pure canard, with or without having any audio or video to show in support of the lie.

We will never have a perfect nation, but we could certainly do considerably better. What that would take, however, would be huge. It would require a massive movement aimed at training the citizenry to love righteousness and justice and to learn our Constitution. Otherwise, it’s just too easy to manipulate the average joe into supporting a corrupt government. And that’s what we do here—the one in favor of his party’s preferred flavor of corruption, and the other one supporting the other camp, and both being told they’re champions for righteousness and justice.

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