By Ronnie G. Wiseman
Leading up to the 2016 presidential election, I was unsupportive of both major frontrunners, but I vowed to be supportive of whoever was declared the legal winner in the end. When Donald Trump was declared the victor, I upheld that vow, even though I was wary of his leadership abilities. Four years later, I am very proud and grateful I gave Trump the chance he deserved because I am a lot more pleased than I ever thought possible from his presidency. If Joe Biden is legally pronounced the victor of this election, I feel it is only right I accept the results and give him a chance to lead just as I did for Trump. However, given his actions of the past few weeks, I believe Biden is setting himself up to be a divisive leader – assuming he becomes the president – and Americans should be wary of his unfounded promises of unity.
Biden ran on a platform of unification and claimed he would be a leader “for all Americans,” yet his acceptance of a prompt victory already undermines his promise. If Biden really wants to prove himself a champion of “unity,” then he should start acting like it by criticizing the most polarizing force in our nation: the mainstream media. Instead, he fully legitimized and enabled the highly divisive behavior of the media Saturday, November 7 by embracing its narrative that he officially won the election.
In his speech, Biden started by announcing that the media delivered him the message of “a clear victory, a convincing victory.” The media has the right to free speech, not the authority to determine the legal outcomes of elections. Being a truly unifying figure is hard work. It requires a person to publicly acknowledge the truth, regardless of whether it is personally disadvantageous. Biden, however, proved he was unwilling to acknowledge the illegitimate context of his victory when he openly accepted the media’s title of “President-Elect of the United States.” The negative ramifications of his decision are twofold and dangerous for all Americans.
First, Biden’s proclamation of victory undermines President Trump’s legal rights to challenge election results. Regardless of political inclinations, all Americans should aspire to trust the legal and voting institutions of our country. Unfortunately, Biden sends a message of distrust. If he truly believes he will still be the victor after all election results have been legally certified, he should be in full support of Trump’s demands to seek legal validation of the projected results and refuse to accept victory until then. Doing so would discourage the polarizing nature of the mainstream media as it seeks to label itself as an authority figure on election results. Additionally, it would put pressure on Trump to graciously concede – if the media’s projected outcome fails to change. Instead, Biden’s refusal to wholly acknowledge Trump’s valid requests to reach final answers under the law suggests he is eager to silence legitimate concerns by setting the narrative that the election is decided and over with.
Second, Biden’s decision to call himself victorious disrespects people who strive to uphold the rule of law and do not immediately trust the bias in the mainstream media’s declarations. Again, a true leader should want all Americans to feel they can trust the integrity of their legal and voting institutions. It is impossible to have unity when the calls for it are predicated on an atmosphere of ongoing doubt and uncertainty. Trump’s lawsuits are still ongoing, and it is entirely possible they change the outcome of the election. On the other hand, it is also entirely possible they do nothing to change the mainstream media’s projections. Either way, should not all Americans at least strive to find a definitive legal answer they can trust?
Biden’s attitude so far indicates that he thinks not. He shows no inclination to refute the mainstream media that favors him so staunchly, even though doing so would assuredly unite Americans and encourage more trust in the rule of law. Trump was wrong in asserting he “did win” over Biden on Election Night. Nonetheless, by Biden turning around and declaring himself the victor – also without legal legitimacy, only the mainstream media’s support – he proved himself a hypocrite.
Biden continually promised to unite our polarized nation and sow less division than Trump, but he has so far failed to uphold this commitment. As Americans, we should all desire to be supportive of whoever takes the oath of office in January and genuinely want to see all the citizens of this great nation come together to heal our wounds stemming from political differences. However, putting trust into Biden’s claims that he will end “demonization” of all political opponents and “marshall forces of decency and fairness” is misguided. It is not in the majority of his words themselves that people should find fault because fundamentally, most of what Biden says has value and is positive in nature. Rather, it is in the context of their premature deliverance, without legal certification, that all Americans should question Biden’s leadership abilities. For it is not in the words of a person alone that we should trust the righteousness of their guiding strength, but it is in the examination of their actions as well.
Ms. Wiseman (pseudonym) is a junior at Chapman University studying for a double major in Television Writing & Production and American History.