On Thursday, President Joe Biden held out a promise of returning to normalcy amid the COVID-19 pandemic that perfectly encapsulates the depressing nature of his presidency. After meandering and dead boring remarks about the toll of COVID-19, the existence of drive-in vaccine centers, and the progress Biden’s administration has made in the past 50 days, the president got to the part of his speech that was clearly intended to be uplifting.
Instead, it will likely hit Americans like a ton of bricks.
In leading up to his grand vision of a restored America, Biden started to get a bit creepy.
“I will not relent until we beat this virus, but I need you, the American people, I need you. I need every American to do their part. And that’s not hyperbole, I need you. I need you to get vaccinated when it’s your turn and you can find an opportunity, and to help your family, your friends, your neighbors, get vaccinated as well,” he said.
Americans have been struggling with the pandemic for almost an entire year, hunkering down in lockdowns, trying to give school-deprived children hope, postponing gatherings with family and friends, and struggling to keep businesses open amid government restrictions. Yet Biden attempted to hold out a great promise, a goal to strive for that would make all the struggle worth it.
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What is that magnificent goal — the grand prize for struggling through this extremely difficult year? A barbecue with family and friends — mind you, not a large one, and even that may not happen because the experts may start a new round of lockdowns.
“Because here’s the point, if we do all this, if we do our part, if we do this together, by July the fourth, there’s a good chance you, your families and friends, will be able to get together in your backyard or in your neighborhood and have a cookout or a barbecue and celebrate Independence Day. That doesn’t mean large events with lots of people together, but it does mean small groups will be able to get together,” Biden said in what appears to have been the climax of his speech.
“After this long, hard year, that will make this Independence Day something truly special, where we not only mark our independence as a nation, but we begin to mark our independence from this virus,” the president declared.
Yet Biden also warned that this grand Elysian vision of a July Fourth paradise may not come to pass.
“But to get there, we cannot let our guard down. This fight is far from over,” he said. “July Fourth with your loved ones is the goal. But a goal, a lot can happen. Conditions can change. The scientists have made clear that things may get worse again, as new variants of the virus spread.”
Biden made the warning explicit. “If we don’t stay vigilant, and the conditions change, then we may have to reinstate restrictions to get back on track,” he said.
If it weren’t for Biden’s monotone and his utterly snooze-inducing delivery, I’d say that was a threat. After all, Democrats have made no bones about the fact that they view the COVID-19 pandemic as an “opportunity” for “structural” change — in the words of Joe Biden. Democrats worked overtime to smuggle pet projects into COVID-19 relief bills, and the majority of the $1.9 trillion behemoth bill Biden just signed into law does not go to directly combat the pandemic.
In this context, Biden’s suggestion that Americans may face new restrictions seems like a threat or perhaps an excuse to prolong the crisis, in order to milk it for all it is worth. That’s not to say the COVID-19 variants do not pose a serious threat, but Americans can only take so much.
Even if Biden’s warning was not a threat, his remark put yet another damper on the idea of celebrating the demise of COVID-19.
According to NPR, the U.S. is administering 2.1 million shots a day. At that rate, 75 percent of the population will receive a first dose of the vaccine by August 2021. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates herd immunity to be around 60 to 70 percent, so it is quite feasible that America will reach herd immunity by July 4. Dr. Anthony Fauci, however, has placed the threshold higher, at 75 percent.
Regardless, the end of the pandemic is arguably in sight, but even when suggesting that Americans can finally look forward to celebrating, Biden kept an extremely dour tone.
This tone arguably fits Biden’s presidency perfectly. It seems many Americans voted less for Biden and more against Trump. Tired of the endless media frenzy over Trump’s every tweet and likely even more exhausted amid the pandemic, Americans longed for normalcy, and Uncle Joe from Scranton seemed a more boring and even-keeled option.
Well, Biden’s delivery certainly is boring — but he is driving America to the Left at breakneck speed, and his own words suggest he wanted to use the pandemic as cover for this “structural” transformation. Biden’s new “normal” championing abortion, railroading religious freedom, forcing the transgender destruction of women’s sports, opening the southern border, and more will likely horrify the Americans who thought Trump’s presidency was exhausting.
Yet Biden’s dour tone on the end of COVID-19 may suggest something else, something perhaps too horrible to contemplate. Is the president actually depressed that the pandemic is receding? Does he fear that COVID-19 will no longer provide an “opportunity” for “structural” change?
That would be truly terrifying.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.