We Aren’t a Democracy, but We Aren’t a Communist Nation Either

My goodness, I only wish Joe Biden was as “communist” as the right wants us to believe. But a communist wouldn’t try to work a tax cut for the rich back into his signature social safety bill, so don’t worry, Republicans, your bogey-man isn’t as bad as you think!

Joe Biden’s presidency began in turmoil with the January 6th riot that failed to stop the counting of the votes that certified his win. As the COVID pandemic drags on, the world watched in horror at the disastrous exit from Afghanistan this summer, Biden’s approval rating dropped lower and low​​er, settling in finally this week at an unfortunate 38%. He is facing extraordinary criticism from both the left and right sides of the political spectrum, but there is a fundamental difference in the criticism he is receiving. I believe that difference is that the left is upset that he is not fulfilling his promises whereas the right is upset that he made any such promises in the first place.

Biden’s “Build Back Better” infrastructure bill finally passed after months of deliberation, but the social spending bill is still in the works. It seems with every new report, it gets smaller and smaller. Paid family and medical leave slipped down from twelve weeks to four, because one senator by the name of Joe Manchin opposes it. It seems to me that America is not much of a democracy if literally one man can grind Senatorial proceedings to a halt and carve out sections of this bill that are widely supported by the majority of Americans, yet here we are. Two years of free community college and capping prescription drug prices, too, have been scrapped, despite their overwhelming popularity as well. There are lots of positives to consider when it comes to the social spending bill, such as climate measures and healthcare, but progressives are getting increasingly more and more frustrated with their own party’s halting acceptance of policies that the majority of Americans support. Instead of having representatives who move forward in the interest of their constituents, we are stuck with politicians who put their own family’s profit over millions of lives. Perhaps Joe Manchin does not support capping drug prices because his daughter profited from EpiPen; perhaps Kyrsten Sinema is also on the fence about the issue because the pharmaceutical companies that gave her campaign $1.2 million dollars told her to uphold their interests. Or maybe they just don’t care enough to help sick people out. Who can say, really?

All I can say is that if America was now a “communist nation” thanks to the election of Joe Biden, then perhaps the social spending bill would have been passed in its original $3.5 trillion form, and perhaps millions of Americans would have benefited from it. Therein lies the fundamental difference between the criticisms from either side of the spectrum. The left wants to hold Biden accountable for the promises that he made and is upset that he is caving to the interests of the moderates and their corporate backings instead of upholding his declarations in the interest of the common people. The right, however, is upset that Biden dared even make such declarations in the first place. We do not expect to have any Republicans on board because they are fundamentally opposed to prioritizing human lives over corporate profits and rich people’s taxes. We do, however, need all 50 Democratic senators to approve of the social spending package, which is where the issue comes into play. It’s why we need to pander to people like Manchin and Sinema who indeed seem to be to the right of Biden, although not by much, and who are indeed single-handedly stalling the adoption of widespread and incredibly popular proposals. I do not think I can sum it up in any words better than The Independent’s headline itself: “Joe Manchin leans over deck of his yacht to tell protesters why he’ll oppose funding healthcare expansion.”Perhaps when we stop seeing basic empathy and concern for others being treated as weakness and idiocy by the people whose only job is to express empathy and concern, then we will actually get some progress made in Washington.