GOP Chaos Shouldn't Overshadow Biden's Powerful Speech (VIDEO)
On Thursday evening, President Joe Biden delivered an Oval Office address to the American people. In sharp contrast to the follies, fights, and clashing egos being demonstrated by Republicans in the House, Biden showed that his White House remains the calm, stable center of our government.
He spoke clearly, earnestly, and eloquently, drawing parallels between the fight going on between Israel and Hamas with that of Ukraine and Russia. He spoke about how those who renounce violence and hate are not excused from action in the face of the worst forms of injustice. And he did something extraordinarily brave in speaking to the mistakes that America made by acting out of rage in the wake of 9/11.
Some presidents, like Barack Obama, have been lauded for their soaring oratory. Others, like Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump, have been described by the media as skilled in communicating, even when all these men were communicating was racism, fear, and prejudice. But President Biden has largely been dismissed as a second-tier speaker, that guy with the stutter who occasionally mangles a phrase. That verdict is completely wrong. Joe Biden may be the best speaker, the best communicator, and the best orator of America’s innate strength in this century.
What made this speech by Biden a genuinely great one was that it didn’t do the easy thing. It didn’t do any of the easy things. It didn’t call for blind support of our allies. It didn’t demand vengeance. It didn’t suggest standing aside, turning away, or hiding behind dishonest demands for perfection.
Instead, Biden acknowledged evil, recognized the difficulty of the situation as it exists for both Israel and Palestine, and warned against giving in to the demands of outrage and shock.
His speech pointed out the humanity of both Israelis and Palestinians. It promised assistance to both Israel and Palestine. It asked both Israel and Palestine to retain their humanity in the face of inhuman circumstances. It is a promise that America will do something it so rarely has: act according to its ideals, not just based on poll numbers.
Perhaps the biggest intention behind Biden’s speech was reminding the public that the world isn’t facing just one crisis. While searching for the path forward in the Middle East, we can’t afford to forget the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
The U.S. has a moral obligation to act in both locations. Citing past U.S. transgressions doesn’t absolve us of the responsibility, and refusing to act is merely another form of evil.
“Hamas and Putin represent different threats,” said Biden, “but they share this in common: They both want to completely annihilate a neighboring democracy—completely annihilate it.”
It’s an important speech, one that doesn’t deserve to be lost in a day of massive events and angry politics. It’s that rarest of things: a speech that doesn’t just call on America to live up to its ideals, but also doesn’t pretend that those ideals are limited to saying the right words. It’s easy to create a city on a hill when all it has to do is shine. Joe Biden is demanding something more: a nation willing to stand on the ground and reach out its hand.
Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.