Biden’s speech last night was strange. At the time, it seemed to be just another Joe Biden word salad but it’s left with me with a bitter aftertaste. I think a lot of us were either so amazed or so relieved that Biden’s still able to read a teleprompter that we initially overlooked the scolding tone of the speech. And yet this morning, it’s the scolding that most of us are remembering.
“Do what we say or we’ll bring back restrictions,” is not a great message. It doesn’t make me want to follow “the rules.” Telling me that I have to listen to Dr. Fauci doesn’t cover up how inconsistent Fauci has sometimes been. Promising people that they can maybe have a barbecue on the 4th of July doesn’t work when most of us know that we can have a barbecue anytime we want.
If I was a White House advisor, I’d suggest losing the scolding tone and just promise people that they can get back to their lives after taking the vaccine. Emphasize restrictions going away, not the possibility of them coming back. Stop acting personally offended just because people are understandably frustrated by everything that’s going on, that’s what someone who actually possessed empathy would do. Gloom is not what we need right now. You have to give the people hope. It’s hard to do that when your messenger is an elderly man who often seems to be in a state of confusion. If there’s ever been a time when America needs young, energetic, and optimistic leadership, it’s now.