Like many Times Argus readers, I listened to President Biden’s first address to the gathered U.S. Congress broadcast on the evening of April 28. I wonder how Times Argus readers will evaluate the abbreviated reviews of this retired secondary social studies teacher.

The speech received a pretty good absolute grade from this teacher, known in his time as a tough grader. Our president covered almost the entire waterfront of current issues. I highlighted his short, but hopefully effective, call urging all of us to get vaccinated, a pleading appeal calling for bending the curve for reducing systemic racism, and the need to show the world’s autocracies that our democracy can get its act together.

President Biden’s stress on jobs, though a bit overdone, recalled to me the Democrats’ call for full employment in 1946, designating the government as the employer of last resort. I still grieve over that failure. His calling for legislation, which many say would reduce childhood poverty by 50%, was admirable, but I would have added I would work in the future toward up-ending U.S. poverty totally. Finally, considering today’s Declaration of Independence statement ‘that all men are created equal’ is, in today’s reality, a joke, I considered it refreshing to hear Biden propose legislation providing some degree of re-distribution in his increased taxation proposal.

Finally, I found President Biden’s words on climate change fell way short. He hardly, if at all, mentioned the word Earth and I don’t think he even said the almost trite words ‘existential threat to Earth’ during his speech, although he has done so before. He didn’t even take the opportunity to mention Earth Day. He didn’t note the last 200-year-old Industrial Age with its excessive extraction and pollution of the Earth, must end ASAP to save our Earth’s health and its ability to sustain life. I do thank the president for changing our former president’s ‘damage-the-Earth’ policies.

Maybe a Biden Farewell Address will call for the replacing of today’s 21st century’s Military-Industrial-Earth-Abusing Complex with a 21st century’s Democratic (small d), Ecological-Economic, and Worldwide Religious/Spiritual Complex to bring about a sustainable 21st century for future generations.

Harris Webster lives in Montpelier.

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