According to the polls, most Americans blame our nation’s ills on President Biden. His popularity is somewhere between prison food and monkeypox. In all honesty, he doesn’t actually control everything in the world, but when you’re angry, you have to take it out on someone.
Certainly, many of his policies and initiatives have fallen short. He has done some good things too, but when you’re being smothered by an avalanche, it’s hard to smile about that shiny new sled buried at the foot of the hill. Some day, Americans, even politicians on both sides of the aisle, will pat each other on the back when highways, bridges, sewer pipes and water lines are improved, thanks to Biden’s infrastructure package. But that’s down the road a bit, and we are a “What Have You Done for Me Lately?” kind of nation.
Two years ago our mindset was, “Let’s get through this pandemic, so we can return to our happy lives: no masks, a return to in-person ball games, the reopening of restaurants, no product shortages, and unrestricted travel.
Although COVID is still with us, the death rate is down. Some folks still use caution, but most of us are living our lives again.
Now, about that happiness: it is still missing. The supply chain issues affect our lives in numerous ways each day. I was doing some furniture shopping recently and learned that the sofa with custom fabric that used to arrive in “4 to 6 weeks” will now take 46 weeks.
No one wants to work in restaurants, or apparently any place else. The pay has been raised, and the benefits have been improved. But managers are constantly told, “I don’t want to get up early.” Or, “I don’t work weekends.” Some bosses remember the days when they could wade through a stack of applications and choose the most qualified person. Now, it’s like the old radio station contests. Caller number one wins! (If you’re lucky enough to get a call.)
As for travel, we can now drive, fly, and cruise anywhere we choose, but only if we budget wisely. When a tankful of gas suddenly costs $70 instead of $40, something has to give. Now, a lunch of Ramen noodles, a banana and water seems quite attractive compared to handing over $12 for some meat and cheese squeezed inside a bun at Subway.
In the midst of all of this, Russia and China continue to misbehave, kids are shooting and killing each other randomly, and we awaken to a new disease or shortage each day.
Naturally, Americans are unified as one to battle these threats to our prosperity and freedom, right? Sure, if Richie Cunningham and the Fonz are still in high school.
But in America 2022, that’s not how we roll. U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, a Texas Republican, said it out loud last year. “We need 18 months of chaos and the inability to get stuff done,” he said, hoping to stall any legislation until after the November 2022 elections.
In other words, he (and many others) are hoping President Biden will fail. Folks, like him or not, he is in office until Jan. 20, 2025 at the earliest. I don’t know about you, but I’m not hoping for two and a half more years of what we are going through now. Call me anti-chaos, but I have hoped every president in my lifetime would succeed.
Many presidents have faced hard times. Some have steered the nation back on path, and others have been unable to do so. It is why we have presidential elections every four years. Our reliable voting systems have a 234-year record of enabling us to reward those who succeed, and to dismiss those who do not.
Unlike pre-1990s presidents, Biden must contend with the nonstop noise of cable “news” entertainers and social media critics who are openly cheering for him to fail. Personally, I’d like to see the American spirit rebound, and then be able to choose from some bright new faces on the ballot in 2024. It would be nice to have candidates, preferably well under the age of 80, who are uniters, not dividers. Is it just me?