In his inaugural address to the nation on January 20, President Joe Biden called for unity. Biden said at the time, “We can treat each other with dignity and respect. We can join forces, stop the shouting and lower the temperature. For without unity, there is no peace, only bitterness and fury. No progress, only exhausting outrage.” He went on to say, “We must end this uncivil war, that pits red against blue, rural vs. urban, conservative vs. liberal. We can do this, if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts.”
Some didn’t get the message, as Antifa terrorists continued their riotous ways in Portland and Seattle. After Biden remained largely silent on the riots, looting and murders endured by residents of these cities and others for months (and never acknowledged that it was leftist political motives behind them), the White House did come out and condemn the current violence. Well, it was actually Jen Psaki, Biden’s press secretary, who condemned the violence. So far as I know, Biden himself hasn’t said anything yet.
One could argue, too, that the effort by the Democrats and some Republicans to impeach Donald Trump isn’t exactly a call to unity, either.
But, it seems Biden himself isn’t taking his call to unity very seriously, as his forty executive orders (EO) include some that are quite controversial and decidedly left-leaning. Why act unilaterally on such actions, without consulting or taking into consideration the concerns of others on the opposite side of the aisle? I suppose one could say that Trump didn’t, and one would be correct. But, did anyone really expect Trump to do so? Did Trump call for unity? Biden has specifically asked that the country to “join forces,” “stop shouting,” and “lower the temperature.” Some of his executive orders will have exactly the opposite effect, I’m afraid.
Here is a list of all the executive orders Biden has signed so far. Here are those that I think are not well thought-out or not conducive to creating the unity for which Biden has called:
One EO requires the U. S. to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord Agreement. From the beginning, critics of the Paris Accords have claimed that it is meaningless, because it sets no required emissions standards for countries. U. S. politicians have groused over the requirement of the Accords that developed countries pay developing countries considerable amounts of money in exchange for absolutely no commitment to reduce carbon emissions whatsoever. Michael Oppenheimer, climate scientist at Princeton University, gives the Paris Accords a grade of D or F so far for actions taken by countries to meet the proposed two degree celsius rise in world temperature. The best Oppenheimer can offer is that the Accords have made a difference by making climate change “a top concern of all countries.” But, even that isn’t true, as few countries have taken significant measures to reduce emissions, despite their pledge to do so, and Brazil and Russia, two top polluters, have ignored the Accords. Back in June of 2017, I wrote that I wasn’t terribly impressed with the Paris Accords. I wrote then, “I think the Paris Agreement was a lot of symbolism without much substance. It made leaders of the world feel good about taking climate change seriously without their really having to commit to much in the way of action to forestall global warming. … Few are going to be interested in taking the necessary action to take on a serious problem.” Unfortunately, that assessment remains true today.
Another EO requires that non-citizens be counted in the census for the purpose of determining representation in Congress. Now, maybe I can see how counting non-citizens makes sense. But, for the purpose of determining representation in Congress? No.
Another EO lifts Trump’s crackdown on communities that shield illegal aliens from deportation. This is too broad. Yes, Trump broke his promise of focusing on deporting criminals and deported a lot of good people who had not broken the law, or their offenses were minor and years old. But, cities have protected criminals from being deported. This cannot stand.
Perhaps the most controversial EO signed by Biden so far stops the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline was to transport oil from Canada to the U. S. This one signature killed 11,000 U. S. jobs, many of them union jobs (with no practical way put forth for finding new jobs for these workers). Biden justified the action as a way of “advancing environmental justice.” That’s absurd, of course. Does Biden really think Canada won’t find another buyer for it’s oil? That oil will be sold. It just won’t come to the U. S., and it won’t require U. S. jobs to direct it’s flow. This makes no sense to me at all.
Another controversial EO bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender ideology, or gender expression (whatever that means). Essentially, Biden has re-interpreted a ban on discrimination on the basis of sex to mean, not only discriminating against people based on their biological gender, but discriminating against LGBTQ persons and trans-genders. What this will mean for religious liberty is yet to be determined, but there are reasons for concern. A similar EO signed by Biden reverses Trump’s executive order banning transgender persons from serving in the military.
Another EO stops the building of the wall on the border with Mexico intended to decrease illegal immigration. Biden is basically an open borders guy. The U. S. is in dire need of immigration reform. However, a critical element of immigration reform is stopping the flow of illegal immigration into the country. This only makes sense. Already, a caravan has been organized that is moving north intending to facilitate the illegal entry of Central Americans into the U. S. The illegal migration at the southern border needs to be controlled, for all sorts of reasons, including that it is a dangerous process that exploits the most vulnerable who are desperate to get into the U. S.
Another EO guarantees the right to refuse to work if the worker believes that returning to work will be prove a danger to their health because of the coronavirus. Those who refuse to work on such grounds will still be eligible for unemployment. But, who will determine if returning to work will prove a danger to someone’s health? A person’s doctor? The person him or herself? There is already a bit of a scam going on with some people refusing to return to work because the unemployment benefits they receive are more generous than their paychecks were. I can see this becoming a bottomless pit of financial irresponsibility quickly, if it isn’t already.
Another EO directs the Department of Labor to develop recommendations that all federal employees receive a minimum wage of $15/hour. Biden has been a proponent, along with the more progressive wing of the Democrat party, of a $15/hour minimum wage across the board. There is a great deal of debate on the impact a $15/hour minimum wage would have on businesses and employees. Arguments are that, while many would be lifted out of poverty earning a $15/hour minimum wage, others would lose their jobs because of the need for businesses to cut expenses. Increased expenses always get passed on the the consumer, further jeopardizing the success of businesses, particularly restaurants and other industries that aren’t essential services. Is this a good idea when businesses have and still are dealing with the impact of the coronavirus? There is concern, too, that such a high minimum wage would discourage employers from hiring younger people looking for their first experience in the workforce. It would be hard to justify paying a 15 year-old high school sophomore who has never had a job $15/hour when an employer could hire someone older with more work experience. It remains to be seen if Biden’s EO inspires movement on the goal of increasing the minimum wage in all industries.
People could argue over the EOs Biden has signed, whether they agree or disagree that they represent good policy. But, the point I am making here is that signing such controversial orders knowing that a considerable number of Republicans, and millions of Americans, have no sympathy for them, does nothing to promote the cause of unity that Biden has called for. If anything, it will have the opposite effect. It will communicate to all that a Biden administration intends to push through an agenda it supports with little to no consideration of the views of many Americans. This doesn’t bode well for the next four years.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.