Commentary, National Commentary

Editor’s Column: The Ways of Life or Death Before Us

President Joe Biden was so in his element speaking at a manufacturing plant in Bay City, Michigan, this week, returning from a worldwide trek to hobnob with world leaders to stand in front of his core people, workers and their families, and deliver a barnstorming affirmation of what his administration has done for the good people of this land in not even two years yet.

He spiced it up with a familiar reference he’s often made when speaking to such an audience, a comment by his dad around the kitchen table. About his global tour, he said, “I recently got back from a trip literally around the world. You know that ‘Around the World in 80 Days’?  Well, I did it in six. I started off in Egypt and ended up in Guam and then came home.  And we ended with a meeting in Indonesia with the G20, the 20 largest economies in the world. 

 “And it was clear in those meetings that the rest of the world views the United States as better positioned than any major nation in the world to lead the world economy in the 21st century. Here we have a strong sense of what all the leaders in the world look to us about. They see resilience in the American economy.”

Biden spoke about all the areas of the U.S. economy that his administration has boosted “in an extraordinary two years of progress.” Yes, there is no denying it, even as, in the context of the next election, all the lame pundits want to talk about is his age. “We’re fixing the damn roads,” he began, then extended the list of real tangible achievements to fixing bridges and airports, to lowering the cost of prescription drugs, creating 742,000 new manufacturing jobs, the most of any presidency, such that Michigan will soon again become the manufacturing hub of the nation. We’re addressing the climate crisis, he said, with the plan just passed promising to reduce emissions by one billion metric tons by 2030. And, “because of our policies, gasoline prices are coming down,”

“What’s most exciting about it,” he added, “Is that people are starting to feel a sense of optimism, feeling the impact of these legislative achievements in their own lives.”

Folks, this is what defines the difference between the two sides of the sharply divided political landscape in the U.S. now. Tangible people-helping achievements, on the one side, versus all the ugly racism and extremism on the other that has nothing to do constructively with people’s lives.

On the one hand, you have the Biden administration’s truly extraordinary achievements in such a short time, and on the other hand, you have Trump continuing to soil the Republican Party with increasingly desperate rhetoric and antics that sadly continue to steal our headlines. 

It does no one any good to groan over the latest excesses by Trump and his cohorts, which continues to be the vast majority of the Republican Party. For them. it’s all about inflicting pain, whether on immigrants, on all women or on marginalized and vulnerable minorities, and it includes restricting public access to free and fair discourse and elections.. It keeps getting worse, and trust me, anything that smacks of a more centrist and mainstream Republican current is being swept downriver by this increasingly cruel, anti-democratic agenda.

Add to the Republican atrocities in the U.S. the even more baldfaced cruelties of Trump ally Putin and his similarly totalitarian cohort in China, and we’re seeing straightforwardly what our species’ alternatives are: contrasting Biden’s people-enhancing progressive agenda, on the one hand, and Trump’s, Putin’s and Xi’s rampaging mass cruelties on the other.

The anti-democratic Trump, Putin and Xi Axis of Death and Cruelty will destroy half of humanity if it prevails, and set the planet on an irreversible spiral toward uninhabitability for any of its life forms, much less humanity.  

 President Joe is not perfect, but compared to the Axis of Death, he might as well be. We are challenged to clear out divisive clutter, affirm the divine diversity of the glorious creation on our planet, and to grow among us all a beloved human community.