A Herculean Task

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

This was a perfect inauguration, despite the pandemic and the fragile status of the country. And Joe Biden, as expected, offers a conciliatory, modest tone. The question is: How many Americans that have not voted for him, can he reach with his unifying message?

With the populistic, nationalistic spook coming from the White House in the past four years now being over, there were really and still are Americans convinced that the election was rigged; that the new president would never be inaugurated, and, if he did, would instantly evoke marshal law and take away social security from the people. Even the corona pandemic would miraculously come to an end on 20 January, 2021, finally exposed as a hoax. This is the pathological extremism affecting the heads of conspiration ideologists and circulating worldwide; a dark, ancient theory merely revived and radicalized by Donald Trump. 

How could it happen that so many people have fallen for something like this? How is that much stupidity on one pile possible? That just can’t be true, one might assume. And, this appalling movement is not going to disappear from now on anytime soon.

In addition to this fairly bleak outlook, it is hard to imagine that Trump will now sink into obscurity, but brooding on revenge instead. In America, everything is possible. He might emerge as the populistic whip on his own TV-channel. Even more dangerous: He did already announce his intention to found a new political organization; the Patriot’s Party. If successful, the destruction of the GOP is indeed conceivable, for most of Trump’s proponents will go with him. Only a slight minority, if at all, of his 74 million voters will finally come to their senses, able to return to the true definition of American patriotism.

The history books tell us that the United States has always been a country divided by populism, coming more than just once close to civil war-like conditions. And sometimes, history even repeats itself: If Joe Biden, like once Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the outset of his first term and in the midst of the Great Depression, succeeds in adopting measures the people will profit from, he might be able to reach into the Republican faction, which will be necessary to pacify the country. A sheer Herculean task among all the other huge problems the new president faces. He does not have much time to produce success.