Why Can’t We Have Nice Things?

This week marked the 100th day of President Joe Biden’s term in office. To mark the occasion, Biden gave a speech in front of a joint session of Congress, much like a State of the Union address, but with a crowd of about 200 instead of the room capacity of about 1,600.

Also, like a State of the Union address, there was a response by the opposing party (a horrible term, but oddly fitting). This task fell to Tim Scott, one of the Republican Senators from South Carolina and currently the only Black member of the Senate.

And that is the bulk of the problem.

The point of a rebuttal is to tear down an argument. The point of the response is to offer a rebuttal of everything the current President says, spinning it as destructive ideas and horrible policy regardless of what is said.

It gets ridiculous pretty quickly, as the response never gets to acknowledge the humanity of the President, just tears down the man in an attempt to appease your own supportive followers, especially the more rabid ones.

Here’s where it got weird on Wednesday night: the view on race. Biden, the old white guy, delivered a message that didn’t label America as a land of racists, but a land where non-whites are at a severe disadvantage, and whites now at a point in history where it is time to come to terms. As part of Scott’s rebuttal, he described a nation where one group of people are unfairly persecuted for trying to uphold a standard of values that are at the core noble and just (presumed to mean ‘white,’ but not actually saying it).

As you might expect, those of the darker-skinned complexion had an issue with ‘Uncle Tim’ and his choice of teams to pull for, while the lighter-skinned ones have a new champion for the rights of the unoppressed to feel oppressed.

The silliness of the issue is only made more poignant because Tim Scott put himself in that position. A position that many other Black Americans take willingly, some because they are true believers in the overall cause and need to sell it, some because it is so easy just to sell out if the payoff is so good.

As a person who has chosen pollical independence at the cost of having a real choice in primary elections, I wish I had an answer to this. I don’t, and this is actually a cop-out article that offers no resolution.

All I know is we need to figure out what we’re doing now.

Agree? Disagree? I invite you to email me at jclevelandpayne@gmail.com if you would like to chat further. 

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