After a year, it is time to search for a theme for Joe Biden’s presidency, in much the way “Make America Great Again” represented both President Donald Trump’s words and actions.
Reporter Kelli Stavas, while interviewing Brandon Brown, did coin the phrase “Let’s Go Brandon” as a substitute for the phrase the crowd at a NASCAR event was offering to represent Mr. Biden’s presidency. However, let’s search for a phrase a bit more specific. Since the president’s campaign focused on ending COVID-19, as has his presidential programs, it should be our focus.
Since President Biden is so experienced at “adopting” the words of others, how about a variation of a theme of President Theodore Roosevelt?
Roosevelt, as vice president, included his theme in a Sept. 3, 1901 speech at Minnesota State University, with “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”
He explained that “Things will not be fixed by talk. It will be fixed by action, and action as a group: a nation working together” with an emphasis on hope and a plan.
Within two weeks after the speech, Roosevelt became president when President William McKinley died from gunshot wounds.
Using this framework for President Joe Biden’s approach to COVID-19 would require changing the words “Speak softly” as it was not intended to represent whispering into microphones or making up words or quietly stumbling through teleprompter material. It was meant to reflect the substance of hope for a nation that works together. This will have to be altered.
For example, Joe Biden during his campaign told the American people that he would not take any “Trump” vaccine,” then quietly took the vaccine before later publicly denying it. Other Democrats, including now Vice President Kamala Harris conveying the same message of distrust of the vaccine, demonstrated a theme of anti-togetherness.
This theme of “whatever Trump did was wrong” was also applied to the treatment drugs that Donald Trump recommended after being cured. President Biden’s messages, always accompanied by threats, were more confusing than his teleprompter.
For example: You can catch it from inanimate objects: until you can’t. Vaccinations protect you: now they don’t. Masks protect you: now they don’t. Stand six feet apart: now it’s three. It’s safe outdoors: But still wear a mask because it is not safe.
Children are not at risk: But close schools. Entering from Europe requires a vaccination: but not from Mexico. Get a booster: but still wear a mask.
As hospitals were swamped, the treatments Mr. Trump recommended had to be ignored. That is, until Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis decided that since these treatments followed the science, he would establish around Florida centers to administer monoclonal antibodies that successfully treated COVID.
After being embarrassed at the success of the Florida plan, in September 2021, the presidential administration took control of the distribution of the drugs and immediately restricted the amount available to Florida.
If this was not bad enough, in December 2021 the Food and Drug Administration approved the emergency use of the drug effective against omicron, sotrovimab, to be distributed by priority being given to “certain racial minorities” (gosh I wonder who they mean?) over “other high-risk patients” — meaning these minorities are automatically high-risk. Of course, New York and Minnesota immediately adopted this system. California?
So “speaking softly” is not appropriate, but “walking softly’ is based on the short, stiff steps of the president and his difficulty with airplane steps. So “Walking softly” it is.
How about “Carry a big stick?”
Roosevelt’s meaning negotiating from strength would have to be altered as maintaining military strength would not work after an exit for Afghanistan while equipping terrorists with $85 billion of the latest hi-tech equipment in the world. For comparison, this is about 12% of the entire U.S. defense budget.
In addition, the emphasis in the military has shifted to critical race theory and discharging anyone not vaccinated. If “Carry a big stick” is not appropriate: what is? Here are a few occurrences related to COVID:
1. President Joe Biden in October refused the offer to spend the funds to increase the number of tests for COVID, and the manufacturers of the tests indicate they cannot come close to the number of tests he recently promised.
2. President Biden refuses to investigate because Dr. Anthony Fauci’s lies to Congress about his authorizing the funding of the research in the Wuhan lab were contradicted by his own emails, because the Obama-Biden team approved the funding by the National Institute of Health? Or because Dr. Fauci’s wife, nurse Christine Grady, serves as the head of Department of Bioethics at NIH?
3. When COVID hit, the NIH was studying the effect of alcohol on monkeys? Or because even in 2022 the NIH funded $205,000 for study of why transgender monkeys do not catch socially transmitted diseases? Sadly, since there are no transgender monkeys, they are injecting female hormones into male monkeys to try and create some even though monkeys do not catch STDs..
4. Because two years into COVID, neither the NIH nor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still relies on studies from Israel, of high-risk patients, or India, with different vaccines?
5. Because the CDC has not complied with its requirement to report how many people died “from” COVID rather than “with” COVID? For example, Colorado classified a death by gunshot as by COVID since the victim also had it. The CDC did falsely publish a number of deaths in Florida as being in a week, only to have to correct it to “since the beginning of COVID.” Is it a coincidence Florida is a red state?
6. Because Homeland Security has also failed to meet its requirement to present the numbers for migrants crossing the border with an estimated rate of 20% with COVID?
The president has, however, made spending a theme by offering bribes and threats to push his mutitrillion dollar “Build Back Better bill, so let’s substitute for “carry a big stick” “carry a big check.”
Hence, the motto “Walk softly and carry a big check.”
Brent E. Zepke is an attorney, arbitrator and author who lives in Santa Barbara. Formerly he taught at six universities and numerous professional conferences. He is the author of six books: “One Heart-Two Lives,” “Legal Guide to Human Resources,” “Business Statistics,” “Labor Law,” “Products and the Consumer” and “Law for Non-Lawyers.”