When President Joe Biden addressed our nation on Jan. 20, he repeatedly claimed that his administration would be one that sought “unity” first and foremost, and that he would foster a culture that “[lowered] the temperature” in our politics. However, as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. Rather than uniting Americans by putting in place policies that put America first, Biden has instead focused on returning power to elite bureaucrats and international organizations.
Shortly after being sworn into office, President Biden signed a flurry of executive orders. His termination of the Keystone XL Pipeline, a project crucial for American energy independence, was particularly damaging. The obvious impact of this decision (in addition to Biden’s commitment to rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement) is the destruction of the United States’ energy sector and the loss of thousands of good jobs in the process. The reach of this executive order does not end there. In continuing to create a dependence on the Middle East for energy purposes, Biden has all but ensured a continued troop presence in the region for decades to come. This is a far cry from the Democratic Party’s supposed “no more blood for oil” position.
Aside from the damaging consequences of these executive orders, it is worth examining Biden’s frequent and excessive use of executive action thus far. While opponents accused former President Trump of somehow disrespecting or violating the Constitution, many of these same critics are silent when the Biden administration “rules-by-decree” to a far greater extent. One such executive order rolled back a number of Trump immigration policies, with Biden even putting in place an outright halt to deportations of illegal immigrants. This plan poses a profound threat to America’s safety and sovereignty. Thankfully, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton challenged the Biden administration in court, and the deportation pause has been blocked for the time being, mitigating some of the damage that this executive order would have caused. Nevertheless, other aspects of Biden’s immigration policy, including his decision to halt the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, fail to put our nation and its people first.
Beyond executive actions, a core role of the President of the United States is the appointment of Cabinet members and the staffing of federal agencies. In many ways, the Biden administration has represented a return to the Swamp, so to speak. Though I cannot speak for the expectations of progressive Democrats during the 2020 campaign, I can reasonably assume that they would not have wished for a Raytheon board member becoming Defense Secretary, a former Federal Reserve chair with millions from hedge funds becoming Treasury Secretary and the president of a neoliberal think tank becoming OMB Director. I also doubt that Biden’s open embrace of Big Tech, even as these massive corporations continue to restrict the speech of those they disagree with, will do anything to “unite” the American people.
While the Trump presidency was often scrappy and rough-around-the-edges, it was steered toward putting America first in the face of overwhelming opposition. In the Biden presidency, however, we see a group of polished politicians, careerists and their allies in the media constantly working to pull the wool over average people’s eyes as they return power to international organizations and federal bureaucracy. Biden is certainly a return to “normalcy,” but it’s time we ask whether normalcy is what we should strive for. When normalcy is merely a stand-in for the liberal consensus that has drained America of its values, independent spirit and pride in itself, we must question whether normalcy is leading us in the direction of a stronger, more righteous America, or an America on the decline. This question will likely be answered for us over the course of these next four years.