Where We Are, Biden’s Tough First Year

The feelings regarding where the country is and how we talk about it, compounds when considering where many fear we are heading, which is the wrong direction. 

There is no denying the stress and anxiety that I have witnessed wherever I’ve been. The longterm impacts of these bunker-like conditions on our minds is not unknown. Cognition, memory, retention, and emotional regulation have all been directly affected on a macro scale but spark a process happening within each of us individually. 

The struggles, obstacles, challenges, and threats that our nation and her people face today have not relented with legislation, executive order, public health guidance, or learning from our own direct experience. 

It’s true, many people are upset. It makes sense they would focus their ire at our political leaders. 

Leaving blame to the side for the moment, President Biden has handled this difficult set of challenges with grace, and a touch of compassion and empathy, which the country really needed and still deserves. Biden, with mainly Democratic lawmakers, made a lot of big decisions that made a big difference

The pressure of more long term threats of an extended pandemic are beginning to surface into our social conscience, quantifiably as inflation in our economy and daunting as is the labor shortage. None of the most challenging issues facing us today have yet to enter the political conversation as anything more than a blame game opportunity. 

You drive anywhere in rural America and speak out about the hot button issues, you’ve got to be prepared to have some outstretched hands and willingness for open hostility. It’s a thankless job. And, nearly all of us live in communities where they have ‘Fuck Biden’ flags flying around on their emotional compensation wagons. 

It’s tough for them. It’s tough for us. We’re in the same political-economic-culture that is failing. It was failing long before 2021, before the pandemic and Trump, and before Obama. Rural communities have been struggling to build their populations for decades.

I’m impressed that so many counties have actually passed the school sales tax referenda. Many of these folks aren’t used to having anyone invest in them, their families, their communities or their culture in a way that doesn’t feel like an invasion or infection.

No wonder they either take what Biden and the Dems did for granted or aren’t even aware of it at all. 

What Republican politicians too often do is vote NO on the bill, raise money on calling it socialism or communism, and make certain their businesses and families are the first in line to receive checks in hopes no one is managing the ledger quite yet. The deeper it is the longer the FOIA request often takes.

Did any Republican vote for that bill? No. Will that alter anyone’s vote in November? Maybe a few. Will it energize people to get out to vote this November? 

Dems passed the direct payment child tax credit, which should be an easy one to support. It’s likely going to go away without action from people who normally don’t participate.

Not by itself. 

On the other hand, the Republicans are for eliminating their cleverly labeled death tax. Now, the sad reality is that if eliminated it only would impact estates valued over $12.06 million

Are some politicians only on the side of talking about being for life while the others they point at and blame for everything are the ones actually doing something to support that life? 

Which party is on the side of the living? Who is only out to talk about being for children and families if it’s to judge them for their individuality?

They even demand that we don’t educate our children about objective reality, instead, replacing it with a fabricated one that distorts American history and rejects reason.

We are a stronger, better nation when we learn from history. We should seek out other sources that challenge our views. Bipartisan efforts can strengthen from debate, challenge, review, amend, and then can ascend. 

Infrastructure spending in America has been an often sought goal but the finish line has never actually been crossed until 2021. It is the most significant investment in our nation in a generation. It passed the Senate with 69 votes, making it one of the most consequential bipartisan bills to pass this decade.

Unfortunately since its passage in the Senate, Republicans have turned against infrastructure publicly.  

They backtracked on infrastructure while plotting oppositional public health messages that are eliminating not only their own supporters but have also harmed vital consumers in their struggling economies, both consumer and political. This will bite them twice, but the memories will fade.

Death isn’t good for business. It’s not good for morale. It decreases productivity. It can be painful during GOTV efforts. And, it’s one less donor and megaphone on social media. 

However, if anyone has not listened to a wide cross-section of people directly and tragically impacted by this virus, it becomes painfully clear that we all learn different lessons. Sometimes, the lesson is our own resilience. Others learn different lessons. We all learn differently. Which is why our education system shouldn’t be as sugar cookie cutter as some on the fringe right now demand we make it.

On foreign policy, Biden deserves tough, thoughtful analysis as well as patience from all of us as he deals with these new and old threats. He is the leader of our nation during a very tense and difficult time. 

Listening to Republicans about foreign policy was like listening to Putin’s propaganda machine. It was jaw dropping. Certainly, there is plenty of actual criticism that can be made without openly joining in with our adversaries. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the case against Biden for Putin. He seemed to almost enjoy himself, likely because he was no longer responsible.

Pompeo was responsible for negotiating the Afghanistan withdrawal that gave America all the restrictions and deadlines in the agreement while handing over the country to the Taliban. We could not engage the Taliban to protect our own national interests. The agreement demanded we immediately begin the release of prisoners. It handed over 5 bases to the Taliban, with plans to remove troops from all other bases.

And, Pompeo set a timeline with a hard deadline for withdrawal two months after the inauguration. 

Is it wise timing to end a 20 year war two months after a tense election and while that new administration is taking office and less than three months after an insurrection?

No wonder Pompeo is out trying to help Russia like he helped the Taliban. He needs another failure to distract from his own. And, there’s plenty of failure, tragedy, and profound loss of our soldiers that is absolutely on the Biden team with regard to what happened in Afghanistan.

We all need to stop this blame game and start seeing reality for what it is. It is not some opportunity to stick the knife into our opposition repeatedly and with glee, forgetting that our opposition is both human and American. We are supposed to be on the same side, even when we disagree. I would say, especially when we disagree. 

It is not a long walk from promoting American weakness during one of the most tense times in Eastern Europe since the Berlin Wall fell to supporting insurrection on a second January 6th. What happened on the first January 6th was unacceptable, violent, and a break with our democratic republic history of peaceful transition of power. What was represented that day by the former president and the riled up mob was our worst impulses fueled by demands to have it only their way, and to hell with the rest of us and anyone who stands in their way.

The intensity and divisions that linger from this period we endure together as a nation. It will take time to dissipate, but not when the flames and dying embers are constantly and on a 24/7 basis fanned by former Trump officials that are more interested in winning a primary than standing for principles that we must renew daily or those principles will perish.

I will never give up, on people or principle. 

Thoughtfulness does not eliminate toughness. 

However, we must begin to listen to one another again so we can begin to heal our nation.

We can decide to renew this spirit every day. When we start to do this without any thought, we will have moved through this struggle and onto our next as a nation. We will overcome.

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