Dear President Biden:
Congratulations! You join 45 other presidents since the inception of our Constitution to undertake the most awed and coveted position in the entire world. I didn’t vote for you, nor do I think you’re likely to be a particularly good president. But I’ve been wrong before, and in this case especially, I hope I’m wrong again. To quote George H.W. Bush’s words to his successor, Bill Clinton, “I will be rooting hard for you.”
In fact, you have a unique opportunity to become who America desperately needs right now: a true statesman. Thinking back, the last great statesman we had was Ronald Reagan, and possibly the aforementioned elder Bush. Bill Clinton, the younger Bush, and Barack Obama, elected to office while only in their forties or fifties, essentially were the presidential Brat Pack. They were admired by their bases but chided by their detractors, much of it a sign of the times rather than faults of their own. Donald Trump, a septuagenarian like you, is of a mature age that usually commands respect. In his case, though, he squandered that golden opportunity. Please learn from his mistake.
You have a tough job ahead of you, but you also have a lot of early advantages. For one thing, you have just replaced the most vilified president since Richard Nixon. More than half of the country disapproved of his performance, and his post-Election Day behavior, including immediately preceding and following the invasion of our Capitol Building on January 6 caused enough of his supporters to openly denounce him or at least shake their heads in disappointment. So, as long as there’s no repeat performance of such domestic terrorism, you’ll get much credit for being a peacekeeper. In addition to your centrist Democrat base, you also have the luxury of a very friendly mainstream media solidly on your side, as well as a bunch of high-profile Republican Never Trumpers. And you have true patriots – I proudly count myself among them – who support every president and want to give him (and someday, her) a chance. Unless you do something absolutely horrible – which I don’t expect you to, and which, by the way, I don’t believe your predecessor did either, despite much embellishment by the press – I will not speak disrespectfully about you. Sure, I may make a lighthearted joke from time to time, but nothing nearly as bad as some Trump supporters are doing now, or as the left did to Trump, or the right to you and Obama, etc.
I really hate to say it, but you’re already off to a bad start. I say so not to bash you, but again, because I want you to succeed. Your success is our success. First, if you really want to unify the country – and I think you do – the way to go about it is not to sign a record number of executive orders on your first day (four times more than Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump combined), and in some cases directly reversing Trump’s policies.
After a contentious election whose validity tens of millions of Americans continue to doubt and feel disenfranchised as a result, a Day One 180 is not how to achieve unity.
Of particular concern is your halting construction of two projects: the Keystone Pipeline and the Southern border wall. Although I disagree with you about the pros and cons of the Pipeline, I respect your position. If you think building an additional access route will harm the environment, at least I can see why you did it, though you could have waited a couple of months. As for the wall, the downside is miniscule, considering that if completed wisely – with solar panels – it can actually turn a profit. I never thought a wall by itself would solve the problem of illegal entry and stay, but combined with other measures, it’s better to have one than not. Unfortunately, many Democrat voters are Open Borderists, and even more favor Sanctuary Cities. Alarmingly, most of your Democratic primary rivals on the debate stage wanted to decriminalize illegal entry, which essentially encourages persons to enter illegally with the only repercussion being that they might sent home – and if so, on our dime. To your credit, you were the lone voice of reason to denounce such foolishness. Nonetheless, I have long maintained that the main reason Trump was able to defeat an impressive array of five senators and nine governors en route to capturing the Republican nomination in 2016 was because of his strong stand on transnational trespass. I don’t favor separating parents from their children, Mr. President, and I do want to find a sensible pathway to legal status for many PHIs (Persons Here Illegally), including Dreamers. But as for the wall, much of it has already been built; please let it finish. Otherwise, it would be like having only three quarters of your backyard fenced in. What’s the point?
Finally, there is statesmanship. Presidents need to rise above partisan bickering. Tell your party’s leaders that impeaching a president who already left office is certainly absurd and undoubtedly unconstitutional. If the motivation is to prevent him from running again (which is highly doubtful anyway, unless he creates his own party and thus paves the way for Democratic victory-by-attrition in perpetuity), that is the epitome of totalitarianism. On a related note, although social media outlets are private companies that can set their own standards (even double ones, much of the time), you can at least shame them for banning Trump. Those stately words may cause you to lose the far left wackos, but not the vast majority of Democrats, and you’ll gain some respect, perhaps begrudgingly, from a whole lot of Trump supporters. To pander to the left – because we know you’re not one of them – is as foolish as Trump fearing losing support among the nut job Rambo wannabees, like those who stormed the Capitol.
You have a chance to become a great statesman. Please make me regret not having voted for you.