On the 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century Joe Biden heads into his first full day as President of the United States of America. There has been much celebration – relieved, subdued celebration – among many Americans. And no doubt disgruntled murmurings among almost as many Americans. Donald Trump has never conceded that he lost the election. But at least we were saved from witnessing more attacks on government buildings in Washington or state capitals. Which doesn’t mean it’s the end for D. Trump, because I can’t see him going gracefully into retirement.
And so it begins, the reconstruction.
Also, the evaluation of Trump’s legacy. One of the very best I’ve read is an essay by Paul Cwalina after the attack on the Capitol building. Here’s a telling excerpt.
“By any objective assessment, President Trump has been remarkably effective, has enjoyed a long list of achievements, and at this time last year was cruising toward re-election.
All of it is at risk of being forgotten. The events of January 6th and the president’s role will be used by opponents to negate all of those achievements and relegate them to talking points for the president’s supporters to preserve his legacy.
Pride is costly. Pride is ugly. Since the election in November, pride has led the president to come dangerously close to becoming a modern, non-fiction incarnation of Captain Ahab, persuading millions to join him in his pursuit of the great white whale of nullifying the election.”
It is an extremely well-written essay. I don’t agree with everything Mr Cwalina wrote. In particular I think he underestimates the events leading up to and including the attack on the Capitol building, as I said in my post last week. But for the rest, I think he’s got it right. America is a bitterly divided country on many fronts, with lots of black and white and not many shades of grey.
Joe Biden has already started work on reversing some of Trump’s legacy. Some I agree with, such as protecting the national parks. Others, such as returning to the Paris Climate Accord, I don’t. But the fact is, he’s doing what he said he’d do.
After a better covid-19 response, Biden’s greatest goal should be a decent health care system for all Americans. He has two years to get it happening. Two years because that’s when the senate and congress elections will be held when the Democrats will most likely lose control of one or both houses.
From a parochial stand point, I hope Biden will support Australia in its response to Chinese bullying and form closer links with us as well as New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, and India. We need like-minded friends.
We’ll see what happens.
Back home in Oz the 26th of January looms, time for the annual “change the date”, “call it invasion day” arguments. 26th January 1788 is the day Captain Phillip came ashore at Sydney Cove. It’s Australia’s national day but some aboriginal activists and their supporters claim it’s a sad day for the original inhabitants of Australia so it should be changed to a day we all can celebrate. We can’t change the past. Best we move on to create a better future. To that end, Jessica Irvine, a journalist for the Sydney Morning Herald, has come up with an excellent idea – have Australia Day as one of those floating holidays like mother’s day and father’s day, and thanksgiving in America. Have it on the last Monday in January (or something). Ms Irvine makes the point there are good economic reasons not to have a holiday that falls on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday – which is true. But also, that way it’s not associated with a particular date it’s just a celebration of nationhood. (Thanks to Charlotte for alerting me to the SMH article.)
And since this is my blog, I’m allowed a little bit of shameless self-promotion. One of my science fiction stories, For the Greater Good, is included in a story bundle. Buyers can obtain four full books for US$5 or eleven for US$15. Part of the profits go to Hero Dogs, an organisation that provides service dogs to returned veterans. So, you’ll get a bunch of good books and be helping a great cause. Win-win. Take a look at the offer here. It’s only available until 4th February.