Don’t trust the snakes

Conor Kelly (TheLorian)

There are times that I wish I could write directly to the president to let my thoughts be known as opposed to some intern who would summarize my concerns. Regardless of their party, presidents have always provoked my admiration and ire, but alas, I doubt my words would reach the president’s ears. But with the current administration facing an unprecedented wave of problems, it is increasingly necessary to make my thoughts on what I would demand from President Biden if I could.

It should be clear that Biden was not my first choice; Elizabeth Warren was my preferred choice. But so far, it seems that Biden has made substantial steps in the right direction. When 417,000 plus Americans have died, Biden has wasted no time undoing many of the mistakes of his predecessor’s mistakes, returning to the WHO, establishing a strong a science-based team to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, Biden has enacted mandatory mask-wearing on federal property—a sign of a dynamic administration.

That said, it would be naïve of the Biden Administration to assume that the Republicans will cooperate or coalesce around a common purpose to fight COVID-19. Several of the Republican members of the House have openly been hostile to mask-wearing. In one instance, Republican representative Marjorie Taylor Greene provoked a shouting match on the house floor due to her refusing to wear a mask during her swearing-in. During the insurrection, in which members of the House were locked together in close quarters, multiple Republican representatives refused to wear masks even when they were offered to them. At the core of the issue is whether or not Republicans have the power and the desire to act with reason and good faith. And considering how Senator Cornyn threatened to use impeachment last Saturday, it would appear unlikely. Simply put, President Biden can seek to pursue unity all he wants. And he should, but not at the expense of a strong agenda.

Nearly a million people have filed for unemployment in the last two weeks, something that requires immediate action. Biden has taken the initiative to act, and if he can get the Republicans to help him act against the virus, then I am all for it. But if he expects unity where this is none, then he will have shot himself in the foot. There is an old story that comes to mind when I think about Biden’s interaction with the Republican party. Imagine for a moment that a young girl sees a snake stuck under a rock, desperately crawling for its life. The girl, motivated by sympathy, removes the rock and lifting the snake to herself. In gratitude, the snake bites her, and the poison rushes through her. As she lies dying, she gasps in shocked protest, to which the snake responds, “Oh, please. You knew damn well I was a snake when you held me close. What did you expect?” So, Mr. President, don’t fall for the snake, or they will bite you too.

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Conor J. Kelly was the Opinion Editor for the Lorian and a prolific staff writer. He graduated from Loras College in April of 2021 and is now pursuing his master's in political science at the University of Illinois, Springfield. You can find his new work on The Progressive American newsletter.

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