Tag Archives: Joe Biden

Wishing to put distance between now and the immediate past

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It might be just me, but I am sensing a serious desire among many millions of Americans who yearn to welcome a new presidential administration with an extra sense of zeal.

We’ve been through a tumultuous past four years. It started with a president declaring an end to what he called “this American carnage.” The presidential term ended with another rash of carnage spilling on the steps of our nation’s Capitol Building, inside the structure, threatening the very democratic process that makes us proud to be Americans.

We somehow got through the horrible event of the Sixth of January. The House the following week then impeached the president for inciting the riot that erupted on Capitol Hill. A week after that we welcomed President Biden and Vice President Harris to the pinnacle of power.

The former president jetted off to Florida. Vice President Pence managed to shake the hands of the new president and vice president.

I cannot possibly know what is in the hearts of all Americans. My own heart is quite full tonight after watching one of the strangest inaugurals I ever have witnessed.

There were no large crowds. No grand parade. The former president and the new president did not share a limo ride from the White House to the Capitol.

Throughout the day, my sense has been a feeling of relief that the past is behind us along with a strong desire to put it farther behind us … in rapid fashion!

Yes, many crises confront the new president and vice president. The pandemic needs focused attention from the center of our federal government. Our worldwide allies need assurance that our nation has returned to its rightful place on center stage. Our climate is changing. Our nation is torn by racial strife.

I get a sense that we now have considerable faith in President Biden and Vice President Harris are up to the task of moving us forward.

POTUS-press relationship restored

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Those of us who have toiled, or are still toiling, in the business of providing information through media outlets to the public took serious objection to a president of the United States labeling the media as “the enemy of the people.” 

I am part of the former group. I am now retired from daily journalism. Still, I am heartened to see that the White House press briefing room might be allowed to return to its original mission: to allow the media to question the White House press spokespeople on issues of the day.

Press secretary Jen Psaki, on the first day of the Biden administration, delivered her first press briefing to the media assembled in front of her. It was wonderful to see a return to the way these events are designed to go. Reporters ask questions of her about presidential policy; she answers the questions directly.

Psaki reminded reporters that there likely will be differences between President Biden and the media that cover him.

Biden’s presidential predecessor didn’t like the way covered him. He bristled at tough questions. He would label stern questioners as peddlers of “fake news,” which was the height of irony, given his own fomenting of lies and mistruths.

Earlier presidents got hectored as well from the press that sought to get to the truth behind issues of the day. They didn’t like the treatment any more than Biden’s immediate predecessor. They realized that a free and aggressive press is essential to holding government officials accountable for their actions, their statements and their policies that affect all of us.

I am looking forward to seeing how the POTUS/media relationship develops in the Joe Biden Era. It won’t always be warm and fuzzy. I want it to be constructive even in the face of criticism that comes with the territory.

DACA gets new life

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Biden got right to work today.

He pulled out his pen and began signing executive orders that sought to reverse some of the policies enacted by his predecessor. So it begins.

I want to talk briefly about one of the issues that Biden deems critical to the nation: immigration.

He has breathed new life into the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program nixed by the 45th president. The axing of DACA didn’t quite take hold, as the courts have intervened to keep it alive, albeit on life support. President Biden signed it back into the real world today while sitting in the Oval Office.

DACA, of course, is the program initiated by President Obama that granted a form of temporary amnesty to those U.S. residents who came to this country illegally as children. Their parents brought them here to seek a better life; they did break the law by sneaking into the country illegally, but the children who came with them didn’t deserve to be deported because of something their parents did.

Obama sought to grant them a reprieve from deportation. His successor nixed that notion. Now comes President Biden to revive DACA once again. Moreover, he is planning to introduce a comprehensive immigration reform package that seeks to fast-track citizenship applications for millions of immigrants who want to become U.S. citizens.

We are a nation of immigrants, for criminy sakes! Our founders all came here from across The Pond. The rest is history. We have welcomed immigrants through the many decades since. Then came a president who immediately characterized those seeking to come here from Latin America as “murderers, rapists and drug dealers.”

Do I want to enforce immigration laws? Of course I do! Those who sneak into this country to do harm should be arrested, prosecuted and kicked out. However, those who come here because they happen to be children of those who came here illegally deserve some compassion and understanding.

The U.S. of A. is the only nation they know. DACA seeks to give them a chance to seek permanent legal resident status or citizenship.

President Biden seeks to give them that chance.

Unity is elusive, but not impossible

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Biden laid down a critical marker that in any other time would sound like just another platitude.

This isn’t just any other time. Joe Biden has become president of a nation still reeling from the tumult, turmoil and terror of recent weeks. He stood on the steps of a Capitol Building that just two weeks ago bore witness to a violet insurrection of terrorists hell bent on inflicting grievous damage to our democratic process.

Biden’s inaugural speech spoke of unity, of healing, of reconciliation. He wants us to be able to disagree politically but not do so out of anger.

Yes, the president has set the correct tone as he now moves forward along with the history-making vice president, Kamala Harris, who becomes the first woman, the first African-American, the first woman of Asian descent to become VP.

It has been quite a day. A moment for the ages.

Can the president achieve the unity he seeks? Sure he can. It will be tough climb. He inherits the highest office in a deeply divided land.

Let’s not be coy about the barriers standing before him. President Biden succeeds a man — who he never mentioned by name in his inaugural speech — who sought to sow division and who governed with no sense of the diversity our nation’s citizenry.

Moreover, Biden offered a moment of silent prayer for the 400,000 Americans who have died from the pandemic. When did his predecessor ever do that?

President Biden’s immediate predecessor is now gone, but the cult that formed upon his election four years ago remains. Yet, Biden spoke to them today, vowing to work just as hard for those who opposed his election as he will for those who endorsed it.

Whether the opponents hear and heed that message remains to be seen and heard. Oh, man … I hope he can deliver the goods.

All in all? This has been a good day for the United States.

I want to make one final point: President Biden spoke of the fragility of our democracy. I concur to a point. Fragility, though, does not mean it breaks easily.

Thus, our democracy remains as strong as tempered steel. We saw that strength today.

Biden to restore empathy to high office

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It looks as though we have received a sneak  preview of what I believe might become a hallmark of a Joe Biden presidency.

The president-elect today bid so long to his beloved Delaware and while doing so teared up, talking about his late son, Beau and how his entire family will have “Delaware” inscribed in their hearts forever.

He ended his speech with tears streaking down both cheeks. Joe and Jill Biden have arrived in Washington and will get ready for the biggest day of their lives, when Joe Biden ascends to the pinnacle of political power.

Empathy, compassion, heart-felt emotion. That has been missing for the past four years. It is the kind of quality we occasionally need to see in the president of the United States. We caught a glimpse of it today and I suspect that as we move forward into the Biden presidency we are going to see much more of it.

I have noted before how the term “consoler in chief” isn’t described in writing in the president’s job description. It is implied. It is understood that at times — such as these — we need a president who can wrap his arms around grieving families and offer them the kind of emotional support they need.

Heaven knows, a nation in the midst of a killer pandemic needs that kind of empathy from our head of state. We have lost 400,000 Americans  to the COVID-19 virus. Many more will succumb to this disease. President Biden cannot snap his fingers and cure it just like that. He can, though, speak to us about the pain many of us are feeling. Indeed, a man who has endured unspeakable tragedy in his own life can understand; his wife and infant daughter died in a car crash many years ago and then he buried his son, Beau, just five years ago.

Joe Biden knows about pain. He knows how to relate to others who are suffering from similar pain.

We saw a touch of it today. I look forward to seeing much more presidential empathy as we move ahead.

How to react to new POTUS?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The day is progressing and as Donald Trump completes his tumultuous term as president of the United States, I am left to grapple with a bit of conflict among my emotions.

Oh, make no mistake, my overarching emotion will be of happiness that this vile, venal, vicious human being will no longer represent me as president. Joseph Biden Jr. presents a return to a more “normal” head of state/commander in chief.

His predecessor will take off Wednesday morning from Andrews Joint Base. He’ll head to Florida. He will be gone from my house, our house. That is all good.

I am wondering now, on this day before, whether the moment Biden and Kamala Harris take their oaths will produce some sort of emotional response. You know … will I well up, swallow hard. Yeah, probably.

That’s OK. I also am trying to dial back my expectations of what President Biden will be able to accomplish. The pandemic is no respecter of who’s in charge of affairs in Washington. The 100-day mask-wearing request seems reasonable to me. Biden will order masks to be worn on all federal property; that, too, makes perfect sense.

He wants us to pull together as Americans, patriots, lovers of our country. Hey, I’m all in.

A big day awaits us Wednesday. It should be full of emotion for all Americans and I include even those who are sorry to see Donald Trump fly away into private life. I can’t speak to how they will react. It’s of no concern to me, frankly.

I am just looking forward to a new day.

Hoping for a honeymoon

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Donald John Trump didn’t get one when he became president.

My hope is that Trump’s successor, Joseph R. Biden Jr., is able to reap a benefit usually bestowed to shiny new presidents of the United States: a honeymoon period with Congress and with the public.

To be sure, President Biden will take office after arguably the bitterest, angriest and contention-filled election in U.S. history. He ran against a relentless liar to then, after losing the election, fomented the Big Lie — that the election wasn’t free and fair, that it was “rigged” by “widespread vote fraud.”

The Big Lie resulted in what occurred on the Sixth of January, the attack on our nation’s Capitol Building by terrorists egged on by Trump, who now awaits a trial in the Senate after the House impeached him a second time, this time on a charge of incitement of insurrection.

I know what you’re thinking: That is hardly a backdrop conducive to a honeymoon period for a new president.

I am going to remain hopeful nonetheless.

Joe Biden inherits a government in crisis. He will speak to us Wednesday about unification, about healing, about restoring our national soul. Yes, we have a killer pandemic that has killed 400,000 Americans. Our economy is in free fall. Our nation continues to struggle with deep divides among the races that comprise our diverse population.

Is a honeymoon even possible? I believe so. It could commence with an inaugural speech that tries to tamp down the fiery rhetoric that exploded after the election and culminated in the riot that sought to overturn the democratic process. President Biden’s success in seeking that unity will depend in large part on the receptiveness of Republicans, a majority of whom swallowed Trump’s Big Lie about the integrity of the election; tragically, many of those GOP Big Lie believers serve in Congress.

A new era is about to dawn over a capital still reeling from the terrorist onslaught. May it produce at least a glimmer of a honeymoon period with a new executive branch team working with the legislative branch in searching for a way out of the mess the predecessors left behind.

Waiting for ‘normal’ presidency

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

As we Americans have come to learn to our dismay Donald Trump was anything but a “normal” president of the United States.

He led a chaotic, corrupt, incoherent administration. He governed that way and is governing that way to the very end of his tenure.

I never, ever thought I would say this but I am looking forward in just two days to the start of a “normal” presidential administration led by a man who knows how to govern, knows how government works and is capable of taking the time to learn what he doesn’t know already.

President Biden likely won’t set the world afire with soaring rhetoric. He pledges to seek unity as he takes the reins of power. He will take his oath of office on Wednesday and will start the unification process immediately.

He won’t blast out an incessant stream of Twitter messages. He won’t demand Cabinet officials demonstrate undying loyalty to him. Biden won’t pit Americans against each other, or pit this country against our neighbors to the north and south of us.

I doubt seriously we’re going to hear President Biden declare, if we are faced with the kind of violence we saw in 2017 when Klansmen and Nazis were lifted to the same moral equivalence as the people who were protesting against them.

No, all he’s going to do is govern the way presidents of the United States traditionally have governed. That he is succeeding an individual who never grasped the principle of compromise or ever understood the complexities of governing with two other co-equal branches of government only heightens the anxiousness many of us feel as return to a “normal” president.

These past four years have seemed like a lifetime to many of us who like following the twists and turns of government.

Normality? Bring it on!

When does Trump vanish for good?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Speaking metaphorically, it is clear that Donald John Trump is being dragged kicking and screaming from the presidency he liked to claim as his very own.

He isn’t leaving quietly, or peacefully, or like anything approaching a gentlemanly manner. He will jet off Wednesday morning to Florida. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will take their oaths. The nation will turn an important page.

But … here’s the deal. We’re going to keep talking about Trump. Bloggers such as me will keep writing about him, at least for as long as he is standing trial in the U.S. Senate — for the second time! After that? It’s anyone’s guess. It will depend, I suppose on whether the Senate convicts him of incitement of insurrection and then determines he shouldn’t ever seek public office.

Regardless of what the Senate decides, I feel confident in suggesting that Donald Trump’s political career is over. The Capitol Hill  riot and Trump’s exhortation of the terrorists has guaranteed Trump’s political demise.

President Biden has an ambitious agenda awaiting him. He will put his signature on a number of executive orders out of the chute. The president will seek to turn the corner quickly on that killer pandemic. He wants to jump-start an economy that has been crippled by the virus.

Many of us, though, will keep talking about Donald Trump. He will command our attention in ways that no one in their right minds desires.

One measure of success for President Biden might make itself known the moment we no longer are thinking consciously about Trump. I await that moment in time. I am anxious for a time when Donald Trump simply disappears from public view.

That day will arrive. Eventually. I want it to arrive much sooner than later. Take my word for this notion, too, which is that I take no pleasure in commenting negatively on Donald Trump. Critics of this blog believe I relish it. I do not. I want to move on and I intend to move on at the appropriate time.

When will we know when Trump drops off our screen? I cannot describe how it will be made evident. We’ll all just know it happens when it does.

I await the arrival.

Thank you, Mr. POTUS

(AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It occurs to me that I owe Donald John Trump a debt of thanks.

Not a huge debt, but one nevertheless that compels me to mention it here. So I will.

Trump will be president for just two more days. He has for more than four years given High Plains Blogger ample grist on which to comment. For that, I am saying “thank you” to Donald Trump.

I’ll be candid. Once we get past this man’s shenanigans and chicanery I might find myself hard-pressed to keep the blog going at the pace it has kept up during Trump’s term in office. I will do my level best.

To be sure, I am not done with Trump just yer. He will be out of office, but he will undergo that Senate trial after being impeached by the House for the second time. That in itself is a record. What’s more, he is set to issue more pardons on his last full day in office; that will occur Tuesday, reportedly, and my gut tells me we will get to witness in real time once again this individual’s venality.

I have chronicled fairly thoroughly over the course of his first campaign for the president, during the Trump presidency and his failed bid for re-election why I believe he is profoundly unfit for public office of any sort … let alone for president of the United States.

This blog features commentary on public policy and politics. Therefore, it is imperative that I maintain that focus given that Trump occupied the most visible and revered office in the land. He will surrender that office to Joseph R. Biden Jr. in just two days (thank God in heaven!).

At one level I look forward to commenting on policies put forth by the new president. I also am going to miss — maybe for just a little while — the opportunity to spill my guts over the idiocy, lunacy, chaos, confusion and controversy that Trump relishes.

I hope to get past my Trump-dumping soon.

Donald Trump issued many new eras into the American political scene. One of  them is how his presence poisoned so many relationships among Americans. I regret that differences of opinion over Trump’s conduct have ruined some of my friendships. I am happy to report, though, that many longtime friendships have survived the tumult.

I am even happier to report that I still love my family members who voted for Trump and who stuck with him through it all; I hope they still love me. I’ll have to ask them.

So, with that I am looking forward to heralding in a new  era. It’s all yours, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

As for Donald Trump, thank you, Mr. President, for giving me so much material with which to work.

Now … get the hell out of my sight!