Joe Biden on Police

Here’s Joe Biden in his 2022 State of the Union Address (PBS): “He called for more funding and ‘training for police to protect our communities.’”

In his 2023 State of the Union Address he invited Tyre Nichols’ parents (NPR) to hear his speech. The latter was a thoughtful gesture to people who suffer from a loved one who died because of police violence.

Here, however, is duplicitous Joe Biden’s 2022 plan about police funding called the Safer America Plan:

Today President Biden announced a plan to fund programs intended to make America ‘safer.’ The president’s plan proposes investments in two competing approaches to this goal. The first is to hire more police officers and call for more criminalization and incarceration. For decades, this approach has failed to make us safer and it is alarmingly reminiscent of 1990s style policies that fueled mass incarceration. The second approach, however, is to significantly invest in community-based programs and services that have proven to prevent violent crime and can make America safer for everyone. This is the approach that we need to embrace in 2022 to create thriving communities (ACLU, July 21, 2022).

And here’s duplicitous Biden as he led the Senate in passing the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act during the Clinton administration: “Lock the S.O.B.s Up: Joe Biden and the Era of Mass Incarceration,” (New York Times, June 25, 2019). Recall Biden’s segregationist buddies in the Senate who he boasted working with and his egregious treatment of Anita Hill during the confirmation hearings of the extreme right-wing Supreme Court justice, Clarence Thomas.

In this smoke and mirrors duopoly (read the one party of the military-industrial-investment class), Biden now wants to make people think he is the champion of victims of the US police state with their militarized and vicious forces of repression, which is not protecting many communities. But Biden is not even near moderation on that topic, whatever moderation is defined as in a nation that can’t and won’t get it right on mass violence and police violence. It’s not surprising that Biden uses similar verbiage to Bill Clinton’s political successor, Hillary Clinton, who called some people “superpredators” during her 2016 run for the presidency. Many knew exactly who Clinton referred to in that slander.

It’s difficult not to pay attention to how far right the US has become in the past 50 years. Where once there were officials like George McGovern and Dennis Kucinich and others, today there is absolute unanimity, including the so-called Squad in Congress who support the projection of US violence abroad in its many wars both overt and covert.

Among those who have confronted war was the late David Harris, who, along with other great souls, like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, pointed the way to a better world. Here are David Harris’ words, a person who spent 20 months in prison for resisting the draft and the US war in Vietnam and who took significant risks fighting for civil rights in the US South in the 1960s:

‘Back in the early 1960s, dreams of making the world better were still envisioned as simple things’, he wrote. ‘No one yet had seen visions warp under the weight of the reactions they would produce.’

David Harris became a journalist and writer. He lives on in many of those who resisted war and paid a price, a price that is sometimes demanded to bring a sense of sanity to the world.


Howard Lisnoff is a freelance writer. He is the author of Against the Wall: Memoir of a Vietnam-Era War Resister (2017).