WESLEY SMITH, ACLJ
As the Scriptures instruct us, we have spent the days since the presidential inauguration praying for our nation and its leaders, including President Joe Biden. We will continue to pray for the President. His inaugural address to the nation included a call for healing and unity—something much needed in our country. However, President Biden now has the task of making his deeds match up with his words. Any sane and patriotic American wants any American President to be responsive to the needs of the country and to be successful in that task.
Only six hours into his presidency, President Biden began signing a series of Executive orders that should worry all people who care about our nation. There were implicit red flags in his speech on the west front of the Capitol on January 20th. For example, using the phrase “systemic racism” followed by an Executive order abolishing the 1776 Commission is disconcerting. In spite of what many in the media report, this commission was designed to correct the historical inaccuracies and myths purported in the revisionist 1619 Project. But it was more than that. It was a commission designed to shine a light on the rich history of our nation, while at the same time acknowledging we are still working on forming a “more perfect union.” America is a work in progress–always has been and always will be.
President Biden’s abolishing the commission combined with his speech does not acknowledge how far we have come as a people. He was Vice President for eight years for the first African American President. Think about that. He sat last Wednesday on the platform with the first female Vice President who also happens to be African American and South Asian. President Biden’s speech and actions do not acknowledge that most Americans support diversity, love their fellow-citizens, and are categorically NOT racist. President Biden seems to also imply that Trump supporters are part of the rise of “political extremism.” Political extremism is a blight on the Right and the Left politically in the United States; it is not just conservative Americans. One only needs to look at the riots, fires, assaults, and destruction of property over the last nine months in America that were committed by left-wing radicals. To infer that racists and white supremacy are part and parcel of those who voted for Donald Trump is grossly unfair and does nothing to unite our country.
President Biden stated, “Our history has been a constant struggle between the American idea that we are all created equal and the harsh, ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear and demonization have torn us apart.” If we disagree with the Democrat Party, are we by default guilty of these things? Most political differences are about policy and process—not bigotry or racism. President Biden rightfully decries demonization; but those on the Left, and many politicians, have become experts at demonizing their opponents. They seem not to be about unity—but uniformity. They appear to not want unity unless that means acquiescence. Do they want unity or simply to cancel legitimate, heartfelt dissent, discussion, and disagreement? Dissent and disagreement are hallmarks of America and part of our greatness.
Our President next signed an order overturning a so-called Muslim Ban. It was not a Muslim ban and had nothing to do with religion. In all of the previously designated countries, there were also special exceptions for those who needed to come to the United States for emergencies or humanitarian reasons. What it was in fact, however, was a terrorism ban. The nations that President Biden now wants to open to people without serious vetting are Syria, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. All of these nations do not have either the ability, or the willingness, to ensure that those desiring to come to America are not terrorists bent on harming Americans. It seems that an irrational desire to overturn virtually anything that President Trump put in place now trumps national security.
President Biden pledged from the Oval Office to put Americans to work. By Executive order, he canceled the Keystone Pipeline, a nod to AOC and the supporters of various manifestations of the Green New Deal. Candidate Biden said he would never penalize or precipitously destroy the oil and gas industry. The Keystone Pipeline is supported by our Canadian neighbors, the Native American tribes in that region of the U.S., and labor unions. Closing that pipeline puts potentially 11,000 Americans out of work and puts our newly acquired energy independence at risk. Cancelling construction puts over 1,000 people out of work immediately. The timing could not be worse in light of the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis. Do we really want to be beholden again to the Middle East for oil? President Biden’s orders also stop oil and gas production on federal lands and put new restrictions on all pipelines and shipment of oil—something that will also impact fracking and shale oil that gave us energy independence, even this type of oil and gas production on private lands eventually.
The President’s order on immigration was even more confusing. The opening lines acknowledged the crisis on our southern border and called for more resources and policies to address the immigration issue. So far, so good. But the order then went on to cancel all border wall construction and put a one-hundred-day moratorium on deportations. That moratorium alone is a magnet for more people to cross the border illegally and also allows convicted violent and repeat offenders held by U.S. authorities to be immune from deportation. President Biden also wants to give hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to Central American countries to provide jobs there, believing that will decrease illegal migration from those countries to the U.S. That was the policy of the Obama-Biden Administration and it categorically failed. Many of the U.S. dollars are also misused by corrupt government officials in those nations.
President Biden ordered the United States back into the World Health Organization (WHO). Never mind that it is an inept global bureaucracy that is rife with corruption. China has essentially purchased the institution; and under China’s undue influence, they kept details about the COVID-19 virus from the public until over 100,000 people had died. The United Kingdom and Europe applauded President Biden’s decision; they are grateful partly because the United States pays much of the bill for the organization.
The Paris Climate Agreement? Yes, President Biden has mandated that the U.S. re-enter the agreement. This defies the fact that the United States has done more to eliminate environmental pollutants than any other nation in the world. It also gives China and India (the two largest polluters in the world) a pass for ten years on those countries living up to the standards put forth in the agreement. Additionally, the United States is obligated to pay U.S. tax dollars to other countries in order to help them (eventually?) live up to the clean air standards that the U.S. has already accomplished. (Before the U.S. withdrew, the Obama-Biden Administration already gave $1 billions to the plan, while pledging another $3 billion.) While on the surface it seems laudable and important – and, yes, everyone should be concerned about protecting the environment – this accord is a farce. Like so many other international agreements, the rest of the world is all for it as long as the United States pays the bill. This is a “China First” or “India First” policy.
A President can be sincere—and sincerely wrong. We must mobilize as Americans to make our voices heard and to let the White House know when proposals hurt U.S. citizens and divide us even more politically. We can pray for our leaders, all while holding them accountable and urging them to correct mistakes so early in a new Administration. President Biden promised to be a President for all Americans, not just for those who voted for him. Unfortunately, these policies and Executive orders seem more like a reward and signal to the most radical elements of his party who did vote for him.
Used with the permission of the American Center for Law and Justice.
Chaplain Colonel (Retired) J. Wesley Smith is Senior Military Analyst at the American Center for Law and Justice. He served 26 years in the Army, with two combat deployments. Prior to his retirement in 2013 Wesley was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Chaplains (Headquarters Department of the Army) with duty as the Senior Army Chaplain at Dover Air Force Base and the Dover Port Mortuary, as well as the senior- ranking Army Chaplain for over-watch of all Casualty Operations. In his military career he served as a Field Artillery Battalion Chaplain, a Field Hospital Chaplain, a Battalion and Assistant Brigade Chaplain with US Army Aviation, and as the Brigade Chaplain for the 3rd Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division. For four years he was the Religion and Culture Analyst for Army Central Command (ARCENT) where he advised the Commanding General’s staff on the impact of religion and culture on the Army’s mission in the 17 countries in which ARCENT operated. (Chaplain Colonel Smith’s full bio)