Biden’s Last Chance

A graph showing the time of the year Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Anthropogenic climate dangers. Climate Change: US Fifth National Climate Assessment, Nov. 14, 2023.


I watched President Joe Biden delivering his March 7, 2024 State of the Union speech. “My lifetime,” he said, “has taught me to embrace freedom and democracy. A future based on the core values that have defined America: honesty, decency, dignity, equality. To respect everyone. To give everyone a fair shot. To give hate no safe harbor. Now some other people my age see a different story: an American story of resentment, revenge, and retribution. That’s not me.”

There’s some truth in this ideal picture of America, and I liked it. I am grateful to America for my education, which opened my eyes to see the world, especially giving me an opportunity to know myself.

January 6, 2021 – starting a civil war?

Biden is also right that the Republicans want to forget January 6, 2021. This was an unsuccessful coup inspired and guided by former President Trump, Yet the Republicans are so unpatriotic they are choosing Trump to represent them in the presidential election of 2024. I find this choice despicable, undemocratic, and illegal. No one has explained to me how a putschist can legally remain a free man and can even run for president. Rich people like Trump have money and lawyers to trigger appeals from one court to another. But such a practice is abusive of the rule of law and democratic norms. President Biden understands the shenanigans and hatred of Trump, but his Justice Department did very little to protect the country from the chance that Trump may be elected to return to the While House.

During the “energetic and impassioned speech” of Biden, I watched the cold indifference, nay contempt, of the Speaker of the House Mike Johnson and the Republicans for Biden. It’s frightening to think how these politicians (Democrats and Republicans) are so bitterly divided over class, race, politics and a myriad other issues.

Tax billionaires out of existence!

Biden said millionaires and billionaires should pay a fair amount of taxes. They should, and much more. After all, the disparity of wealth in the United States is extremely acute. And yet Republican presidents (and their friends in Congress) always give trillions of dollars in tax-cuts to those super wealthy Americans we call billionaires. Why are Americans putting up with such medieval political and monarchical arrangement? The very existence of billionaires denies democracy and, needless to say, fairness. Biden should have been much more forthright about taxes and wealth. He should promise the American people to tax 99 percent of the wealth of billionaires. Take all those trillions and use them to build the infrastructure for a non-carbon energy and economy. Put electric trains, buses, and trams everywhere and free America from the car plague. Those Americans who cannot part their car fine them hundreds of thousands of dollars. Do the same thing to the owners of yachts and private airplanes.

Politics of climate chaos

Put solar panels over every house and building roof, parking lot, and church – all over the country. Solar panels would also cover the buildings of all schools, colleges, and universities. After all, climate change is getting worse. If Biden takes the dangers from climate chaos seriously, and admits the truth to Americans, and commits himself to fighting the climate enemy, he will be reelected.

Militarism and war

However, Biden has work to do. He started his State of the Union speech with a visceral attack against the President of Russia Putin. I was embarrassed listening to such warmongering falsehoods. That Putin (just like Hitler) was attaching much more than Ukraine. Watch out, Europe, Putin is coming after you. This vitriolic nonsense got a huge applause, which tells you false patriotism sells. But this speech against Russia sounded to me obscene. Why would the President of the United States attack publicly another country, Russia, as if the United Stated had declared war against Russia? Is the United States waging war against a nuclear-weapons superpower, Russia? If that is true, watch out. You certainly don’t want to start a nuclear war. No country, including the United States, can “win” such a war. Only death, destruction, holocaust and darkness follows that war. Biden’s bravado might have been designed to please the merchants of munitions and the Military Industrial Complex. But stressing war and propaganda for war are not wise or enticing ideas in trying to convince Americans to reelect him. Besides, warmongering brings Biden down to the level of Republicans.

Work for a better world!

I recommend that Biden discards his madness for war. Stop funding Ukraine and Israeli wars. Stop them. Rebuild good relations with Russia. Focus on the vast climate enemy. Tax the rich to pay for remaking America friendly to nature and climate. Assume international leadership in fighting climate change and abolishing nuclear weapons and I guarantee greatness will be given to Biden.

Evaggelos Vallianatos is a historian and environmental strategist, who worked at the US Environmental Protection Agency for 25 years. He is the author of seven books, including the latest book, The Antikythera Mechanism.