LANGFORD: Do we have Biden beer goggles?

Should we be as critical of President Biden as we were with the previous administration?


Emery Little

Are we wearing Biden beer goggles? (Hustler Communications/Emery Little)

Will Langford, Editorial Director

It was the day many of us had been anticipating with insatiable hunger. On the heels of a gruesome transition of power, Joseph R. Biden became our new president on Jan. 20, inciting a collective sigh of relief in many. We did it, Joe. For the first time in four years, things could feel normal again. It was only a few days later that it hit me.

Joe Biden was not the Democratic candidate I wanted. As time went on, in fact, I wasn’t sure if I was as excited about his presidency as I thought I would be. This is what I wanted, right? I anxiously watched the election coverage for an entire week, desperate for a Biden victory. Now that he was in office, it almost felt wrong to complain.

Are we wearing Biden beer goggles? It seems like we’re proceeding for the next four years in a stuporous haze, giving any action of the current president a seal of approval. In reality, there has been a string of questionable actions carried out by the Biden administration.

Since the president has taken office, the United States-Mexico border has seen an influx of migrants. In response, Biden’s administration had to hastily increase their facilities in Texas in order to process these individuals. This has taken the form of makeshift tent cities, where unaccompanied children are sleeping on floors inside rooms sealed off with clear plastic, a minor upgrade from the famous wire cages of the Trump administration.

Sure, tents are preferable to cages, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement in how migrant children are protected and treated once they reach our border. Moreover, the issue is that the Biden administration is using coded language to hide the reality of these children’s treatment. Just because you call it a “soft-sided” facility, does not mean human rights are being protected.

Next, President Biden approved a Syrian airstrike in February against militia groups backed by Iran. While the mission was defensive in nature, it generated some concerns that Biden and Harris were being hypocritical. After an airstrike conducted by Trump in 2018, Vice President Kamala Harris questioned the legality of such action. Additionally, Biden voiced at one point that Trump’s behavior in the Middle East was dangerous and erratic

This is not to catch Biden in some sort of “gotcha.” Rather, this shows that both presidents are involved in similar activities, but one is ceaselessly criticized and the other only experiences slight friction from opponents. Put simply, Trump and Biden have received diametrically opposing responses from American citizens.

I will be the first to admit I tossed my hat into the ring and joined in the verbose criticism of Trump. I don’t regret doing so, as my thoughts were valid, and his actions were unscrupulous. We weren’t wrong in making sure that our president would be held responsible for his actions. 

However, we need to be just as vigilant with our criticism of Biden as we were with Trump. If we made it our duties to hold one president accountable, then we have to continue this effort with the subsequent administration.

Part of the issue is not that people are being overly defensive or forgiving of our new president. Rather, it’s that we aren’t as watchful of him as we were with Trump. Many people are unaware of some of Biden’s blunders altogether, as they don’t feel like they have to keep him accountable. He’s a Democrat, he’s doing what’s best, right?

Not always. He’s a person just as fallible as any other president that has ever held office before him. As a result, we have to relinquish this narrative of Biden triumphalism that we are so dearly clinging to. Winning the 2020 election was a landmark victory for his supporters, but that doesn’t make Joe Biden a messiah sent on a righteous mission to restore goodness to the world order. He’s our president, and regardless of his party, it’s our mission to hold him accountable and ensure he is working in our best interests.

The criticism of one individual may seem like a drop in the ocean, but it’s imperative that we don’t blindly accept and endorse politicians. People in power are oftentimes stamped as “good” or “bad” based upon arbitrary qualifications, completely ignoring any nuance in human character. People who are mostly good are still capable of doing wrong, and vice versa.

Let’s take off the goggles. This doesn’t mean we’re going to burn the president in effigy, or any politician for that matter, for the sake of being skeptical. The aim is to recognize that sometimes even people we like are susceptible to mistakes and wrongdoing. If we each individually judge the president’s actions from an objective viewpoint, this will create an environment of collective accountability. If we truly are in “a battle for the soul of the nation,” then this is a fundamental first step.