June 3, 2020


Biden's Speech About the Protests Is a Vision of Post-Trump America (WILLIAM SALETAN, JUNE 02, 2020, Slate)

For all his flaws, Biden fits the moment in this respect: He has always aimed for an expansive coalition. On Tuesday, he targeted Trump's most universally repellant offenses: "sweeping away all the guard rails that have long protected our democracy," "using tear gas and flash grenades" to clear out protesters for a photo op, "using the American military to move against the American people," and attacking "the right of the people peaceably to assemble." Biden reminded Trump that protest is part of liberty and democracy. "Mr. President," he said, "That is America."

In opposition to Trump's incendiary rhetoric, Biden argued not for the other side of a divided nation, but against division itself. "He thinks division helps him," said Biden. He lamented that Trump, who has promised to end wars abroad, "has turned our country into a battlefield." Biden emphasized the first word in our country's name--united--and appealed to moral principles shared by many faiths. "The President held up a Bible at St. John's church yesterday," said Biden. "If he opened it instead of brandishing it, he could have learned something: that we are all called to love one another as we love ourselves."

Biden didn't sugarcoat the injustices some Americans have inflicted on others. He acknowledged "the racial wounds that have long plagued this country," "generation after generation of hurt inflicted on people of color." "American history isn't a fairy tale," he said. It's "a tug of war between the American ideal that we are all created equal and the harsh reality that racism has long torn us apart." He called for legislation to ban chokeholds, tighten oversight of police, and create a model standard for the use of force.

But Biden, like President Barack Obama, implored his audience to understand these injustices as part of a story of progress. Out of our nation's worst sins and crises, he noted, came many of its greatest reforms: the post-Civil War constitutional amendments, the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act. America has always required "protests from voices of those mistreated, ignored, left out and left behind," he conceded. "But it's a union worth fighting for."

Trump stands against that tradition of progress.

Posted by at June 3, 2020 12:00 AM