Homer: Biden Must Denounce the Violence

By Matt Homer

America burns, and the President of the United States has a message for you. If America elects Joe Biden violence will engulf the streets of America, the violence in the streets of America is Joe Biden’s fault, and America should ignore the fact that the violence in the streets of America started and continues under his Administration.

Makes perfect sense, right?

Trump also expects us to believe that it all magically goes away the day after his re-election – it won’t. He also said COVID-19 was going to magically do the same – it didn’t. Instead of addressing the nation with presidential distinction, with empathy, and with proposed solutions, Donald Trump has decided to use the death of black Americans, civil unrest, and the fears of white Americans as the centerpiece of his reelection campaign.

Presidential leadership matters, presidential rhetoric matters, and the tone of any presidential campaign matters. President Trump should be a president to all Americans – not just the ones that voted for him or the ones he believes will vote for him in the future. But there is no rising to the occasion for Donald Trump. He believes he is the occasion.

During the Republican National Convention, Trump used political appointees as speakers, incorporated the Presidential Seal, and used the White House as a prop for the world’s largest and most fraudulent snake oil convention in history. It is a disgrace to the people’s house, it shamefully rejects decorum, and it violates the law, but hey, fireworks. Merica.

How do you think that made the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Jacob Blake, and the countless other families of slain black men and women feel? Did he address their wounds? Did he comfort their fears? No, he ignored them and suggested the country should be afraid of them.

I am tired.

The White House is a symbol of our better angels striving for a more perfect union. The White House is a beacon of Americanism, not a prop for Trumpism.

I digress.

There is no use sitting around waiting for President Trump to become presidential; it is never going to happen. He is not going to strike the presidential tone of sympathy for the families of the slain while simultaneously condemning the violence. No, he is going to elevate the hate, feed into the fears, and violate every norm. Why? He knows it is the only way he can MAGA, or KAG, or whatever.

However, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are running as the alternative, as the adults in the room, as the restorers of science and of expertise, as the evangelists of empathy, as the revivers of decency. This election is a referendum on the Trump presidency, and the only way to avoid the obvious is for Trump to pin the blame on someone else.

The campaign pledging to restore leadership at home and abroad must address the violence taking place in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and around the country. To be fair, Biden recently spoke to these issues via a campaign video and he struck the balance that we have come to expect from our leaders. He addressed the tragedy of Jacob Blake et al, he addressed the need for change, and he drew comparison between the peaceful protests and the counterproductive violence – but it is not enough.

It is your moment, Mr. Biden; perception is reality.

Biden holds his presidential aspirations in the palm of his hand. Trump has accused him of stoking violence in the streets of our cities and Trump knows that his own path is narrow and illuminated by fear. What happens if Biden steps to the podium and neutralizes the message with only two months before the election, days before the debates, and weeks before Americans start casting mail-in and absentee ballots?

Biden will burn your cities becomes as ineffective as Sleepy Joe.

Bill Kristol said it right: “… if Joe Biden and Kamala Harris went to Kenosha tomorrow, met with Jacob Blake’s family and families of the victims of last night’s shootings and store owners whose businesses were trashed, walked the streets and plea for unity-it would be something.”

Yes, Bill, it would be something; in fact, this race would be over. Maybe. One thing is certain; there are few undecided voters in this election. However, Trump is trying to mobilize his base, bring the wavering white suburbanites back into the fold, and make you believe that anarchy is marching ominously towards your community.

The president believes, “There are good people on both sides,” when white nationals are concerned, but says, “When the riots start the shootings start,” when it involves black lives. There is no forthcoming leadership from the White House. It is time for Joe Biden to rise up, seize the moment, and lead.

John Lewis said, “Freedom is not a state; it is an act. It is not some enchanted garden perched high on a distant plateau where we can finally sit down and rest. Freedom is the continuous action we all must take, and each generation must do its part to create an even more fair, more just society.”

It is time for action.

We need the bold and compassionate leadership that we have been promised and that we so desperately crave. Joe Biden must rise to this moment.

History has its eyes on you, Mr. Biden. Do not let us down. We cannot afford it. You must denounce the violence, instill hope, and plead for unity. The podium is waiting….

E Pluribus Unum.

Matt Homer is a former pastor, congressional staffer, political operative who worked on both the 2016 Trump campaign and the 2012 Romney campaign, elected political official in Virginia’s 6th Congressional District, and lobbyist.

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