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President Biden lights up the chamber in fiery State of the Union address

Ronald Mitchell
President Biden lights up the chamber in fiery State of the Union address
Trump was outmatched by Biden in round 1 of the campaign.

Every year, the United States president gives a highly anticipated State of the Union speech. The address in the chamber of the House of Representatives always draws global attention, but this year the stakes were especially high.

President Joe Biden, facing a tough re-election battle, walked onto the floor of the House fully aware that he needed to show he was not the “Sleepy Joe Biden” of his opponent’s mocking taunts. That, instead, he was “Fiery Joe Biden,” ready to take on all comers in the political cage match of the century.

And make no mistake, he delivered, demonstrating energy and passion in a nearly two-hour address to rally America to facing down daunting challenges at home and abroad at a time the American experiment in democracy is under its greatest threat since the Civil War.

Looking overseas, Biden rejected the isolationist rhetoric of GOP challenger Donald Trump to link our national security to the fate of Ukraine. He reminded his global audience that Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin is a dangerous dictator praised by Trump, who signaled to Moscow that Russia could do “whatever they want” to NATO allies supposedly lagging on defense spending. The incumbent president made a forceful argument for Republicans in Congress, spurred by Trump, to back down on opposing aid to Ukraine.

Turning to threats at home, he pointed out that the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol was profoundly anti-American and was launched based on Trump’s “big lie” about stolen elections. In an obvious reference to the ex-president, Biden said, “You can’t love your country only when you win.”

Biden then took on one of the Republicans’ biggest talking points – the issue of immigration. Without flinching, the president doubled down on the fact that the Democrats had worked diligently with the most conservative Republicans to craft a bill to encompass everybody’s concerns only to see it shut down for political reasons by Trump. When the GOP peanut gallery began hooting their objections, Biden threw it right back in their faces, squarely placing the blame at their feet. 

Biden was not done there. He called out the GOP and their conservative allies on the Supreme Court for overturning Roe v. Wade and undercutting a woman’s right to choose — something Trump has chosen to brag about. Then, like a prizefighter gaining strength from his corner man, he called in support from America’s women. Speaking directly to anti-choice Supreme Court justices and quoting from the court’s own decision, he said, “‘Women are not without electoral and political power.’ You’re about to realize just how much you got right about that.” He concluded by pointing out Democrats’ successes in key elections since the court struck down Roe v. Wade and emphasizing that the winning streak will continue this fall.

Turning to bread-and-butter issues, the president talked about the growth in our economy and the addition of tens of thousands of new jobs since he took office. He catalogued his success in bringing down inflation and expanding health care access. Obamacare, he said, ensures that millions of Americans can no longer be denied health insurance because of pre-existing conditions and warned that Trump is still intent on repealing Obamacare’s gains.

In his conclusion, the president poked fun at his age, reminding the audience, “The issue facing our nation is not how old we are, but how old our ideas are.” America can’t be led, he added, by appealing to the “oldest ideas” of revenge and retribution. “You can’t lead America with ancient ideas that will only take us back,” he said.

Touching on the conflict in the Middle East, the president committed to expanding humanitarian aid to Gaza, achieving a temporary ceasefire, winning the release of hostages and reaching a two-state solution as a lasting balm to the ongoing war between Hamas and Israel.

In the global battle between democracy and dictatorship, freedom and autocracy, Biden has proven himself a champion of liberty and security at home and abroad. By contrast, Trump represents the forces of chaos, dissolution and intolerance. The much-indicted ex-president has sought to diminish rights at home rather than expand them, has given comfort to dictators rather than opposed them, and has tried to turn back the clock rather than move us forward.

Biden is not perfect, but he deserves our support in the upcoming election. He and Vice President Kamala Harris represent progressive change and advancement for all. Over the next eight months, our community can make a difference in strengthening Biden’s bid to win office for another four years. Freedom itself is at stake. Don’t allow overly wrought concerns about Biden blind you to the continuing danger of Trump to the health of our republic.

Biden’s command performance at the State of the Union reminds us that he is a steady hand at the helm of our nation and deserves our support.

editorial, Joe Biden, State of the Union, Trump