In the comments to the right of this official White House video, see how conflicted the responses are, a reflection on how divided the American people are.
(If you are only partly deaf and can both hear what is said and pay attention to the subtitles, see how crude the Artificial Intelligence that the White House is using can be. Don’t want to let China steal a march on The USA there! Who gets the jobs, and who becomes the butt of crude jokes, are at stake. Meanwhile Joe ought to pay for some American labor with human intelligence and an editor to oversee things to get the captions right. No, it’s DAUPHIN County, not “Dolphin,” where the pastor who introduced the president serves as a county commissioner.)
Joe Biden at Valley Forge, and responses
Joe Biden’s speech, with responses and counters to those by Eric Jackson and others
At a difficult time, with a divided nation and a divided party, President Joseph R. Biden Jr. went to Valley Forge.
This was a place of terrible suffering not far from Philadelphia, where George Washington’s Continental Army endured terrible hardships — where some 1,000 men and women and some 1,500 horses died of hunger and hypothermia during the winter of 1777 and 1778. This was after the Continental Army’s stunning victories at Bunker Hill, Saratoga, Trenton and Princeton, but when the British still controlled New York and Philadelphia. Were it not for a small group of wealthy men in Philadelphia, several of them Jewish, who donated what they could to the cause led by the freemason George Washington, the American Revolution might have died there.
But hope was kept alive by a then-obscure English writer and corset-maker, Tom Paine, who endured the hardships and wrote of the “times that try men’s souls” in what became the best-selling series of pamphlets, The American Crisis. At Valley Forge Paine penned volume 5 of that series, “to Gen. Sir William Howe.” It was a model of American insolence, disrespect and defiance of pompous authority that marks US culture to this day.
As has been the US norm for the past century, the most brilliant of Joe Biden’s insolent, disrespectful and defiant critics are within his own party. All of the greatest issues of that time were fought out within the Democratic Party — whether fundamentalist religion is properly enacted into public law, whether working people have a right to organize unions and bargain collectively, whether black people and women have any rights at all, the Vietnam War, the Iraq War, now the Gaza War and so on. Biden may be a shoo-in for renomination, but he has to unify and inspire Democrats to win in the fall.
And the Republican critics? Meh. They are afraid of kids reading books with different points of view. their discourse is a dumbed-down echo chamber. Their versions of insolence, disrespect and defiance are corny, contrived imitations. To wit:
The above take on Trump’s cheap shot attempt at insolence is by Jon Baumann, staunch defender of Social Security who may be better remembered as Bowzer from the retro-rock band Sha Na Na, way back when. The Brooklyn native is uncle to the chair of the California Democratic Party and, whatever other Dems may say about some of his stands on some of the issues that divide Democrats, here he does a PROPER take on the American culture of political insolence.
President Biden brings down the roof with his first speech of the 2024 election year, hammering Donald Trump and MAGA with the fiery fury of a man on the right side of history.
This is the kind of heroic salvo that ends up in the text books…
The president gave the show-stopping speech near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, and marked the third anniversary of Trump’s Capitol insurrection.
Proving immediately that he is a better man and leader in every way, Biden said: “I’ll say what Donald Trump won’t. Political violence is never acceptable in the United States.”
This is not the kind of thing that someone running for American president should even have to say, but given what we saw on January 6th it’s a necessity.
But those weren’t even the harshest words that Biden had to share about his insurrectionist opponent. During one particularly powerful segment, he ripped into Trump’s blatant fascism.
“He calls those who oppose him vermin,” said Biden. “He talks about the blood of America as being poisoned, echoing the same exact language used in Nazi Germany. He proudly posts on social media the words that best describe his 2024 campaign: ‘Revenge,’ ‘power,’ and ‘dictatorship.’ There’s no confusion about who Trump is, what he intends to do.”
“All out war is what Trump wants,” said Biden. “And that’s why he doesn’t understand the most fundamental truth about this country. Unlike other nations on Earth, America is not built on ethnicity, religion, geography…”
“We’re the only nation in the history of the world built on an idea,” Biden went on. “Not hyperbole, built on an idea. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equally. It’s an idea declared in the Declaration, created in a way that we view everybody as equal and should be treated equal throughout their lives.”
“We’ve never fully lived up to that,” said Biden. “We have a long way to go but we’ve never walked away from the idea. We’ve never walked away from it before. I promise you I will not let Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans force us to walk away now.”
The crowd erupted in applause.
This is a winning message for 2024. Hope, not fear. Democracy, not fascism. Blue, not red.
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