Random Observations on a Presidential Presidential Address

1. President Joe Biden's speech to the nation last night could have been a giant victory lap. Having just signed the most significant anti-poverty legislation in at least two generations and leading a country that has gone from the worst rate of COVID deaths to the most vaccinations in the world since he's been in office, no one would have blamed Biden if he had come out to the lectern and said, "Suck my dangly old balls, you Trumpfuckers. Ol' Joe is taking your piles of shit and turning it into fertilizer. You thought I was brain-fucked. Well, sorry, bitches. You're ridin' with Biden and we just floored it. Oh, and indictments have been issued for the following people" followed by a list that included Trump, his terrible children, and most of his circle of poisonous cockmites. Beyond the rhetorical masturbatory fantasies of an angry, exhausted lefty, Biden could have done that. He could have listed all the parts of the American Rescue Plan that will help actual Americans who need rescuing and not only billionaire cash hoarders. 

2. But that's not the speech he gave. Instead, what came through most clearly was that Biden wants us to feel the burden of this fucktastrophe of a year. He wants us to feel it and carry it and understand it, as he carries the burdens of all the deaths he has experienced and his own brushes with mortality. He said that it's okay to mourn, no, that it's necessary to mourn the dead, and it's also necessary to mourn the loss of time that we all experienced. He said, "It’s the details of life that matter most, and we’ve missed those details.The big details and small moments. Weddings, birthdays, graduations — all the things that needed to happen but didn’t. The first date. The family reunions. The Sunday night rituals. It’s all has exacted a terrible cost on the psyche of so many of us." Goddamn, I know it's only been four years since Barack Obama was president, but those lines made me realize how much we have been missing since he left office, that sense that someone understood us as whole human beings and not red-hatted cogs in an orange, screaming ego machine. Biden spoke gently and firmly, laying it out there, as he has done before, and making clear that, yes, we will move forward, but we must honor what the cost has been.

3. Perhaps even more importantly, Biden made a case for the centrality of government in the lives of a nation's people, as a part of the people. Since 1981, the idiot mindset of too many members of both parties has been that government should be something minimal in your life (unless, of course, you want an abortion), that direct help is bad, that social programs are worthless, despite nation after nation proving the exact opposite. This kind of thinking has fucked up so many people's lives, from the deregulation that has allowed our air and water to be poisoned to the denial of assistance to the poor. What fucking monsters we've been. What American pigs. Biden reversed that equation in his speech, saying, "Look, we know what we need to do to beat this virus: Tell the truth. Follow the scientists and the science. Work together. Put trust and faith in our government to fulfill its most important function, which is protecting the American people — no function more important. We need to remember the government isn’t some foreign force in a distant capital. No, it’s us. All of us. 'We the People.'" Notice that he was talking about everyone, and, with his refreshingly straightforward condemnation of violence against Asian Americans, he was saying that the racist shit that was tolerated before is off the table. 

4. And, inevitably, conservatives lost their little goddamned minds, going full-blown ragegasm at a speech that sought to unify the nation. There was the laughably moronic image of tiny Tucker Carlson reacting to the speech in the corner of the Fox "news" broadcast; it was mostly Carlson doing his Tucker stare, which means looking like a little boy seeing a vagina for the first time. There was Brian Kilmealready bizarrely telling everyone to move on from the half-million dead, which is what you say when you're one of the people who helped murder them. Screechmaven Mark Levin blustered that the speech was "propagandistic," revealing that right-wingers think that compassion and care is propaganda, which is pretty accurate. But the most hilarious thing that upset the right-wing fucknuts is that Biden didn't give "credit" to Donald Trump for his administration's role in developing the vaccine, which is pretty bold for a bunch of people who never gave Obama credit for building the economy that Trump brayed like an ass about for years. Sure, though, let's give credit where credit is due. Biden could have said, "Donald Trump ignored the coronavirus for too long, politicized simple things to prevent it, lied about its seriousness, held events that actively spread it, and refused to come up with a national plan, leading to widespread economic misery and over a half-million Americans dead, but he didn't totally botch it when it came to the vaccine." Yeah, fuck all of these increasingly deranged, insignificant, pathetic dicks.

5. What we also got in the speech is that Biden isn't looking for our approval (although, you know, every politician is). He is looking for our help. He is leveling with us about what has happened and what needs to happen and what consequences are if we fuck it all up. He told us he needs us and that he trusts us, perhaps a little too much, to do the right thing when it comes to finally bringing this miserable crisis to its jubilant end. Yes, July 4 as our Independence Day from COVID is hokey, but it's not a goal for cynics like me. And, unlike Trump's promises a year ago that things would be over by Easter 2020, it's genuinely realistic. It was a presidential presidential speech, and, even more, it was a healing speech, not just from the virus, but from what the last administration did to us. We can get past this, Biden was saying, all of it, and be better in body and mind and soul and country. Let's hope he's right. Let's help him be right. 

(Note: Yeah, this is a bit of a slobbery blow job for Biden. But that's okay. There will be plenty of time to take him to the woodshed over all kinds of shit.)

(Note: The Affordable Care Act is arguably the last great anti-poverty legislation, but the American Rescue Plan does even more.)