From the Department of Alternate Universes


Biden Raises Serious Questions About “Whole History and Future of This Country”



February 14—Donald Trump was dealt a crushing blow as the U.S. Senate voted 71 to 29 to convict the former president and forbid him from running for office ever again. Yet almost more shocking than the actions against the former president was President Joe Biden’s statement directly afterward:

“My fellow Americans, as I said at my inauguration, while many pressing issues confront our nation, there was no issue anywhere nearly as important as moving quickly and firmly to deal with the coup attempt by Donald Trump. As I told you: if fascism is not decisively punished and if we do not move to root it out, then the cancer will grow back and next time we might not be so lucky. Just think for a minute what would have happened had Donald Trump succeeded in overturning the election.

“For that reason, and in response to the way you filled the streets in the days after that coup, refusing to be intimidated by the vicious fascist mobs, sometimes at great sacrifice, we had to—yes, you forced us to—do everything we could. So we went to work on this seriously and with a singular focus. The testimony that we were able to compel from the Republicans in Congress who had been in phone touch with Trump during the actual siege of the Congress... the firsthand accounts from those close to Trump, who knew they faced jail time if they perjured themselves and were discovered... the transcripts and documents showing the actual coup-planning meetings that we were able to uncover... all these and more were part of using every possible legal means to drag the whole truth into the light of day and make the case that could not be denied.

“Listen—I even had to go up against those in my own party who counseled not doing anything to upset our legislative agenda, who said we should do just enough to weaken the fascists and get our program through, and then win the next election. That we dare not, in their words, ‘tear the country apart.’ But my friends and fellow countrymen, we’ve been doing that kind of thing for decades and the country already is torn apart. I came to believe that it had finally come time to admit that the fascists have advanced through all our seemingly clever but in fact dangerously stupid stratagems.

“Had we not moved so decisively, had we merely put on a good case, even a compelling case, but not fought all-out in a way commensurate with the terrible stakes in front of us, we would have been faced with the worst of both worlds: a maniacal fascist tyrant politically wounded but still with his following and able to come back to public life, along with his violent armed fascist organizations who would be emboldened by their ‘success’ in literally getting away with murder. The ‘strong-man’s’ grip on one of our major parties—the one that in fact still dominates the judiciary, the state legislatures, and much of the core arms of government, as well as large sections of the military and virtually all of our municipal police departments—would have been tightened. That party would have had a permanent armed wing, ready to violently intimidate and attack any who dared oppose them in the public square, including even high government officials. And by the way, don’t be fooled by these 11th hour professions of regret from some of our colleagues across the aisle—they brought forward this fascism, they believe in it, they benefit from it and they’re gonna keep trying to bring it back in one form or another.

“So we had no choice—not if we wanted to prevent the installation of a fascism that would have foreclosed any chance at change whatsoever and would have spelled almost certain doom, if not today then tomorrow.”

Biden, visibly shaken by his rendition of “what might have been,” paused before the next, even more shocking part of his speech.

“My fellow Americans, I wish I could say that it is all over. But what I saw over the past four years, what we endured during the elections, and then the outright attempted coup on January 6 compelled me to search my soul.

“First, I asked myself: why haven’t we Democrats fought this with all our might? Why have we refused, after all these years, to call it for what it is: fascist?

“Well, here’s the deal: we were afraid. We were afraid of many things—of Trump himself, of his angry mobs of followers, and of what we might have to do if he defied us and even moved against us.

“But most of all, we feared what it would say about our society to admit that it was our American system that had spawned this monster. We feared that you, the people, would begin questioning the very legitimacy of our government and begin asking deeper questions. We feared that if we called this what it is that you would go into the streets and we feared that once you did, you would begin to sense your potential power and build unity and organization that was not under our thumb. We feared that our international domination—which, after all, is what makes possible our ‘great standard of living’—would be shaken. So for years we used everything at our disposal to keep you passive. And to be honest, it wasn’t all that hard. But look where that got us!

“But let’s go deeper. What does it mean that this so-called great democracy of ours spawned this? I’ve had to think deeply these past weeks and months about the white supremacy that defines our history—the genocide against the peoples who lived here before Europe came, both historic and ongoing; the kidnapping and enslavement of ten generations of Africans and their descendants in a crime of such horror, duration, and continuing effects that it truly shocks the soul; the endless wars we’ve waged—some you know about and some you don’t, and most we’d all just as soon keep secret—against other peoples to dominate their economies and distort and mangle their societies.

“Think about it. Today even we Democrats will sometimes use the word ‘systemic’ to talk about our problems. But let’s face it folks—that ‘system’ has a name: capitalism-imperialism. And so long as this capitalism exists, we’re going to be facing these kinds of crises, and even worse.

“Barack Obama, under whom I served, used to say that we were creating a ‘more perfect union.’ But look—that’s a steaming load of malarkey and we’ve always known it. More perfect union? Last great hope of mankind? C’mon man—from day one this has been a society of slavery, genocide, worldwide oppression and plunder, the mutilation of the lives and spirits of the half of humanity that is female, the persecution of people who didn’t conform to ‘straight’ gender roles, the wholesale destruction of our environment... my god, it makes your head spin and heart ache when you finally confront it for what it really is. ‘Soul of America,’ my ass—America’s like a butcher shop full of blood and shit and carcasses where we manage to put some pretty wallpaper up on the top floors and spray the damn place with Febreze every five minutes while we stuff our faces with the meat prepared below.

“So where do we go from here? Folks, the thing is this: I have no answers, no real answers—and more fundamentally neither does the system I have served for 50 years. Given the relentless pace and scope of the environmental crisis, given the fact that it would take a whole different economic and political system, with different social relations and institutions to root out the cancerous white supremacy, the patriarchy, the callous chauvinism and hatred against those outside our borders, I can only say that there must be huge and fundamental change... change that will require great sacrifice up against the powerful forces who, I will tell you, are determined to keep their grip on things and will use the tremendous machinery of violence we have built up to do so... as I was until just a few months ago.

“Because of all that, today I announce...”

* * *

But that really didn’t happen, did it?

So what are WE gonna do?



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