The Persistence of Memory

President-elect Joe Biden with his wife Jill Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris with her husband Doug Emhoff, overlooking the Washington Monument during the Covid Memorial. 400 lights were lit for 400,000 lives lost to Covid-19 in the USA. Tuesday 19th January 2021.

‘To heal, we must remember. It’s hard sometimes to remember. But that is how we heal. It is important to do that as a nation’. President-elect Joseph Robinette Biden Jr., 19th January 2021, on the eve of his inauguration at the Lincoln Memorial.

As well as memory, it will take courage to look back and honestly talk about why someone as divisive as Trump had – and still has – such resonance for so many people. Biden was victorious at the 2020 election (of that there is no doubt), but it is worth remembering too, that Amnesians came out in their droves and twice voted for Trump (2016 and the failed re-election). There will be a need to understand why that was. Biden may well be the person who received the most votes for a president in history, but Trump received the second-most.

Biden will need to look back to administrations he was part of, and ask himself honestly whether they played a part in contributing to the rise of Trump. It is important to understand that the dissatisfaction and anger the Trump voters felt neither happened in a vacuum, nor overnight. The feelings festered over time. For many, their rage, sadness, bitterness and disappointment was ripe for manipulation by Trump and his administration.

Of course, some of Trump’s popularity is a result of the internet and social media. Some of his popularity is because of the most vulgar impulses of humanity, but we fail ourselves if we choose to write everything off as this.

The wounds left by the past run deep. Remembering is the starting point for Biden. Honesty is the next step.

Will Biden ever have the courage and honesty to openly address that what has really fractured the USA so badly is it’s economic system? It is one that leaves so many behind, without a chance of catching up. 

Meritocracy is a failure. ‘The American Dream’ is just another corporate product. Will he ever publicly acknowledge that? We fear without the desire to have an open discourse about these things, Biden will become just another President of the United States of Amnesia, where selective memory is another marketing tool.

~ L&A 19.1.21 ~

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