Bearing Witness to Good News April 2021

The best news of the month if not year is that the country as a whole continues to recover from the chaos, bitterness, and trauma of the Trump administration. It’s like we are all suffering PTSD – Post Trump Stress Syndrome – but did not know how bad it was until we were able to leave it and him all behind. No longer are we bombarded by the hostility, pettiness, and vindictiveness from over 50,000 anxiety-provoking tweets from the White House as chronicled in four years of painful Bearing Witness to Trump

President Biden has proven to be Trump’s opposite and antithesis. Just what the country needed to heal. Biden is competent, experienced, kind, measured, thoughtful, empathetic, decent, predictable, caring, focused, deliberate, measured, honest, and likeable not only as a leader but also as a fellow human being. All the things Trump was not and likely can never be. No wonder the new president has an approval rating of nearly 60%, despite being handed a country torn in half by Trump that just faced down an insurrection. And we have experienced the first 100 days of the new administration without a hint of any scandal anywhere, and more importantly without lying or misleading the American people. 

The president, his cabinet, and congressional leaders are making progress by tackling some of the biggest and hardest issues facing the country that the previous White House ignored, dismissed,  blamed others for, or exploited for their advantage. These include: COVID vaccinations, employment and well-paying blue collar jobs, ending the Afghanistan war, climate change, racial justice and civil rights, wealth inequality, pandemic economic relief, gender rights, health care, infrastructure, environmental protections, international relationships and alliances, gun control, child and family support, immigration and refugees, higher education, national security threats from Russia and China, tax fairness reform, defending democracy and voting rights, Supreme Court reform, and demonstrating the capacity of a democratic form of government to serve its people in a way that will prevail over those run by autocrats. “America is on the move again” the president rightfully claimed in his prime-time address to the nation.  

As the month begins the US is now averaging over 3 million vaccinations per day with a peak of 4 million shots. Nearly 20% of all Americans, over 65 million, are now said to be fully vaccinated from over 150 million shots. A large majority, nearly 70%, of those over 65 and most vulnerable have received at least one dose. President Biden moved up the deadline for states to make all adults eligible to April 19 from May 1.

President Biden’s approval rating for his handling of the pandemic is solid with 3 out of 4 Americans approving the job he is doing.  Over 9 in 10 Democrats approve of his overall performance in the first few months of his administration. This is a highest polling of new presidents in the Gallup poll. Biden seems to have become the perfect no-drama president the country so badly needed after the tumultuous hell of four years with Trump. 

Biden minced no words when he said that the competition between America and China is about showing that democracy works and wins, while autocracy loses.

President Biden imposed substantial sanctions on Russia by expelling diplomats and enforcing banking and investment restrictions. This was in response to the SolarWinds hack and interfering with US elections. In announcing the new measures, the Treasury Dept. revealed documents that confirmed Trump campaign officials provided Russian operatives with 2016 campaign data. All during a time the Russians were running a covert interference and disinformation effort to help Trump win and hurt Clinton.  

The US resumed assistance to Palestinian refugees through the UN that had been stopped by the Trump administration.

More than 500,000 Americans have signed up to receive health insurance under the ACA since Biden reopened applications.   

The economic recovery from the pandemic is accelerating with the US expected to grow by over 5% this year. Growth in the 1Q was an astonishing 6%. Unemployment has now fallen to near 6%. Retail sales by consumers is soaring and new unemployment filings are approaching 500,000 a week down from a million of recent months. Consumer confidence has soared in the US in the pasts few months to the highest since before the pandemic.

Biden’s justice department picked a voting rights advocate, Kristen Clarke,  to lead its civil rights division. She is an example of what makes America exceptional in that she is the daughter of Jamaican immigrants who was raised in a housing project but would later go on to attend Harvard and Columbia. The administration is making the restoration and protection of voting rights a high priority, while Republicans across the country are attacking it under various disguises as part of Jim Crow 2.0.  

Congressional Democrats have begun an effort to expand the Supreme Court after two seats were stolen from it by Republicans. It would effectively unpack the court after it was packed by the Republican senate during the Trump term. President Biden has also launched his own 36-member commission to evaluate changes to the high court that are long overdue, including shortening the length of term that justices serve.  

To help pay for badly needed infrastructure improvements, the president has proposed substantial increases in taxes paid by wealthy Americans and businesses. However, tax rates would still be lower than those before Trump’s tax cuts and far below those of the mid-1900s when the country was building infrastructure, education, and social services. He has also proposed that US corporations that became great and big because of the US begin to pay taxes on income they earn, move or hide overseas in a shell game.

As part of a long overdue closing of the Guantanamo prison in Cuba, the administration is moving some detainees to facilities in the US.

Biden’s HHS has begun to reverse Trump-era bans on family planning clinics that referred women to abortion providers. 

The president organized a climate summit over Earth Day that was attended by over 40 leaders from around the world.  The US announced plans to cut emissions by half by 2030 as did many other attendees. In leading the conference, President Biden said the world faced a moment of peril but also one of opportunity and it was a moral and economic imperative. 

Legislation to make DC the 51st state is making its way through the Democrat-led House of Representatives. This bill would give its over 700,000 citizens voting rights with congressional representation. 

The President announced that it was time, long past time, to end America’s longest forever war. Biden said that remaining US troops in Afghanistan would come home by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Biden sent his defense chief Lloyd Austin on a trip to Europe to help rebuild military alliances with individual countries and affirm our commitment to NATO, both severely eroded by the Trump administration. 

President Biden finally referenced the killing and deportation of more than a million Armenians in the last century as a genocide. Previous presidents had always avoided using that word to describe this horrific atrocity.

As the month ends the US hit a milestone of one half of all adults, about 130 million Americans,  having received at least one dose. Nearly one third are now fully vaccinated. All Americans are now eligible for receiving the shots. 

The above news items have been taken from a number of local, regional, national and international news media  including print, broadcast, and digital sources, but no social media. Additional editorial opinions and comments about these news items are those of this author.


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