This essay was first published in the September 7, 2022 Epoch Times.
President Joe Biden’s Sept. 1 White House speech was designed to intimidate and anger.
The intimidating background consisted of FBI raids on Biden’s most prominent political opponent and that opponent’s key supporters; an FBI invasion of the office of a sitting member of Congress—thereby violating one of our most treasured constitutional traditions; indefinite incarceration of Jan. 6 defendants; illegal COVID-19 decrees; the militarization of federal agencies; censorship cooperation between the administration and social media; 87,000 new IRS agents (many with guns); and the political purge of the U.S. military.
The intimidating image consisted of two U.S. Marines standing behind El Presidente.
The intimidating words were Biden’s threats to use the power of his office to crush his principal political opponents.
Who were the targets of intimidation?
- Any citizens active in conservative or Republican causes who receive Social Security or disability checks;
- veterans who depend on post-service benefits;
- business people dependent on government contracts or on a benign regulatory environment;
- media relying on government access; and
- social media eager to preserve their immunity—under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act—from the liability to which other media are subject.
Perhaps it was no coincidence that shortly after Biden’s speech YouTube dug up an old video it relied on to justify a belated “strike” against The Epoch Times.
From the standpoint of the Biden administration, intimidating opponents and potential opponents would be a good outcome.
But the administration knows that all its adversaries cannot be intimidated. Those whom it could not intimidate, it tried to anger. The infuriating background was the run-up of federal debt to levels that can never be paid off; fabricating still more expensive and destructive government programs; robbing productive and responsible Americans so as to “forgive” loans paid to Biden’s university constituency; and methodical destruction of our currency and our border.
The infuriating image was the color scheme behind the speech, all angry black and red.
Among the infuriating words was the inexcusable characterization of state lawmakers trying to protect our elections as “partisans and cronies.”
Biden also charged his political opponents with doing precisely what the left does: try to corrupt elections, promote violence, and trash the Constitution. His handlers know that a great way to get under an opponent’s skin is to accuse that person of doing precisely what he is most passionately against.
From the standpoint of the Biden administration, provoking an angry response—especially if it kindled violence—also would be a good outcome.
The Speech Backfired, However …
Yet the speech backfired. Criticism was very widespread. It came even from liberals and from some in the establishment media. True, the speech did provoke some anger, but (regretfully, from the viewpoint of the administration) no violence.
Instead there was ridicule. In one meme, Biden became the evil Emperor Palpatine from “Star Wars.” The Babylon Bee announced Biden’s “Strategic Alliance with Mussolini and Emperor Hirohito.” The Bee also “reported” that “Mussolini and Hirohito have distanced themselves from Biden’s ‘extremist and inflammatory’ comments.”
The “however” is that the bullies who dominate Biden’s administration are not about to give up. They will take more action; and when they do, the action may not be of the kind possible to ridicule: expanded raids and/or incarceration of political opponents, extortion of media and social media, and more efforts to destroy or neuter the productive middle class.
Biden’s Sept. 1 speech—much of which he reaffirmed on Sept. 5—provided the justification for further action: We must destroy “an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic” … “a threat to this country” … a movement to “undermine democracy itself” with “authoritarian leaders” who “fan the flames of political violence that are a threat to our personal rights.”
In other words, we must use government power to suppress critics of the Biden administration.
One nightmare scenario—not probable, I acknowledge—is that the administration, or a lame duck Congress, or officials in “woke” states try to set aside or dilute the results of the 2022 elections. True, Biden is committed to protecting “our democracy.” But remember that in Progressive Newspeak “our democracy” means “their oligarchy.”
In their view, elections that reject their oligarchy—I mean “our democracy”—could only have been “decide[d]” by “partisans and cronies,” trying to “undermine democracy itself.” Did not Biden affirm that “We can’t let the integrity of our elections be undermined, for that is a path to chaos”? And did he not say that he “will not stand by and watch” such a process unfold? After all, protecting “our democracy … is within our power, it’s in our hands.”
Meaning, of course, in his hands.
The Constitutional Solution
This is supposed to be a column about the Constitution, not about current politics, but there is a constitutional angle here. During the 20th century many nations lost their freedom and fell into authoritarianism or totalitarianism. One factor that distinguishes them from us, however, is that they did not have the benefit of the U.S. Constitution.
Our Constitution separates power among branches of the federal government. It divides power between the federal government and the states. It grants legal protection to an armed citizenry.
Should the Biden administration continue down its authoritarian path, Americans will expect each other to do our duty. We will expect a new Congress to intervene, an independent judiciary to void illegal orders, state legislatures to quit stalling and convene an amendments convention, and citizens to stand up for their freedom.
In such a crisis the state governors will be central. As chief executives of their respective states, they will have to find ways to protect their citizens.
Fortunately, many states have governors with no illusions about this administration, and who understand what its direction is likely to be.
If those governors have not begun already to plan for a crisis, they had better start now.