Joe Biden needs to get real

Why the new president should temper his idealistic invocation of unity with something tougher

President Biden.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Getty Images, iStock)

No one alive to the acute danger Donald Trump has posed to the American body politic over the past four years — continually demonstrating and rewarding corruption and incompetence, ceaselessly spewing political toxins into the civic air we all breathe — could have been anything other than hugely delighted and relieved by the events of Jan. 20, 2021.

Two weeks to the day after he incited the most potent insurrectionary act against the federal government since the Civil War, Trump was gone, fleeing the White House by helicopter hours before the grandest ritual in our public life got underway. His successor took the oath of office in front of a small crowd of political dignitaries, while National Guard troops stood watch, assuring that the presidential transition would take place peacefully. It was a moment of gravity, an occasion for counting ourselves lucky. We gave the most important job in the country to a pathologically narcissistic imbecile, endured it for four years, and managed to get out alive (or at least most of us have). What a relief.

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