In his January 20, 2021, inaugural address, President Joe Biden called for national unity – suggesting that Americans must put away their political differences and work together for the common good.
As the newly sworn-in president, Joe Biden stated boldly, “We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal.”
Yet, instead of actually following through on his pledge, Biden has gone on the attack and accused Republicans of obstruction anytime he didn’t get his way.
Moreover, he has lectured on the “battle for the soul of the nation” several times since, and often in ways that have only served to divide rather than unify. Biden took aim at the so-called MAGA Republicans who suggested they were only patriots when they win, but that is very much true of many in the Democratic Party too.
As a result, in the two and a half years since Biden took office, the nation remains as deeply divided as at any point since the Civil War (1861-65).
Joe Biden: Did He Lower the Temperature?
Perhaps the country can’t heal as the vitriol from elected officials remains so high. The pressure is created from both sides. Former President Trump’s calls for protests to his indictments are wrong – not only because it could incite unnecessary violence, but that’s not how our legal system should work. The same should be true of protests when there is police misconduct or other actions that get the masses out.
There can be no justice if there is no peace! Court proceedings should not be events that spark protests, yet, we have become a nation that has lost almost all faith in its justice system.
And at this point, few protests seem to even begin as peaceful and rarely end in such a manner. The First Amendment may provide the right to peaceful assembly – but it seems few follow it to the letter these days.
Contesting the Elections
Both sides need to accept the outcome of an election – a point that was true in 2016 and 2018 as much as it was in 2020.
Four years of chants of “not my president” by Trump’s opponents, statements that he was an “illegitimate president” by prominent lawmakers, and most notably the fury from a failed candidate who blamed everything for her loss in the election only served to encourage the wrath that was ignited by Trump’s defeat.
We need to remember that election denial didn’t start in 2020 and it arguably began two decades ago when Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College. President George W. Bush was seen as illegitimate, and there were calls to “re-defeat” him in 2004. That may not have started our great divide, but it certainly helped widen it – and the rift has only grown since.
We need to remember still, two years before Kari Lake became the poster child for poor losers, there was Stacey Abrams in 2018, who refused to accept her loss in Georgia’s gubernatorial race.
That all but set the stage for Trump to make his dubious claims in 2020.
The Culture War vs. the Woke Agenda
At the same time, the “culture war” that is being waged by some on the far right – including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who remains Trump’s closest GOP nomination rival going into the 2024 primaries – isn’t helping matters either. Nor is the “woke” agenda and “cancel culture” from the extreme left.
There seems to be almost no middle ground on these cultural issues, and any notion of compromise is essentially a pipedream.
How Can We Heal? Maybe We Can’t!
All of these factors are at play, and neither side shows any willingness to even try to compromise. That much was noted when Biden was elected in 2020, as many in the GOP refused to work with the president while some on the left said it was time for reconciliation. That latter point is worth noting as that same crowd was happy being in the resistance until Biden won.
In other words, this “uncivil war” simply won’t end as long as there is the attitude from the left that the right must accept the progressive policies of the White House. And again, this cuts both ways, the MAGA crowd needs to move past the lies of a stolen election and look forward not backward.
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.
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