Joe Biden: Our Resolute President
There are few more powerful and prestigious images than that of our US president sitting behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office. This site serves as the locus of national and international decision-making for the one person who holds the title of president.
The Resolute Desk was crafted from the timbers of the H.M.S. Resolute, a British Arctic exploration ship. The ship was discovered in Arctic frozen waters in 1855 by American whaler James Buddington. The ship was taken to the Brooklyn Naval Yard for refurbishing and subsequently returned to Great Britain in 1856. Having used English oak wood from the ship, Queen Victoria then presented the desk to President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1880.
Over the last 140 years, numerous presidents made use of the Resolute Desk in various locations in the White House. President John F. Kennedy was the first to use it in the Oval Office, and it has been kept in use there by each and every president since Bill Clinton.
Of all the “scandals” that rocked the Obama administration, none was more egregious than when a picture was released of the president with his feet atop the Resolute Desk. (Well, there was that tan suit scandal as well.) According to his critics, this picture showed how blatantly Obama disrespected his presidential office with his feet on the desk. There were multiple “tsk, tsk, tsks” heard in unison across Washington, DC. Perhaps one day our nation will heal from those turbulent times, electing a president who will lead this nation forth once more in confidence and integrity behind the Resolute Desk,
Donald Trump made himself at home behind the Resolute Desk, and all too often as a photo op. In the early months of his administration, he enjoyed signing numerous Executive Orders at the desk, using a wide tip sharpie for his unique signature. According to the Washington Post, Trump has signed 193 Executive Orders as of October 30, second only to Reagan, who signed 211 in his first term. More often than not, Trump would sit at the desk, surrounded by Cabinet members or other persons from various sectors of the country. Frequently these persons were pictured clapping, reminiscent of Trump's favorite North Korean leader and his cheering devotees.
This has been a brutal election season. There have been striking differences between the campaign stops of the two candidates. Trump savors the cheers and chants of the in-person rallies. In order to create that environment, people are herded into tight proximity at these events. While it may create the illusion of much larger gatherings, it also puts everyone's health in jeopardy, mask-less as they are.
In the last couple weeks before the election, however, Joe Biden and his people gathered in parking lots and in their vehicles. Honking horns formed the “applause” at these venues. Ever mindful of the ravages of the spread of coronavirus, Biden and company have been faithful in wearing masks.
Aside from mask usage, or the lack thereof, the severity of political rhetoric has been exacerbated by the desire of our president to cast false aspersions on Biden. Trump and his minions attempted to create a story involving Joe's son, Hunter. Truth has little meaning or value to the Trump campaign. There was no more evidence of this than when he proclaimed to his supporters that “we have rounded the corner” in the fight against COVID-19. All this rhetoric is to convince the country's voters that he is the better candidate to spend the next four years behind the Resolute Desk.
Newspapers and magazines have cast their endorsements to one candidate or the other. For the first time in the history of their publications, USA Today and the New England Journal of Medicine endorsed Joe Biden for president. The Editorial Board at the Economist wrote that Joe Biden “is a good man who would restore steadiness and civility to the White House. He would thus begin the long, difficult task of putting a fractured country back together again.”
And fractured it is. As supporters of one party drive the highways of our land and create traffic blockades that have become their footprint, the fracturing of this country may only get worse as the days go by. Let us hope that does not come to pass.
Thank heavens Joe Biden will be our new president come January 20, 2021. We will discover that Joe, with Kamala at his side, is up to the challenge. Not only will Joe fit the Resolute Desk, he will be a Resolute President. He will lead this nation, resolutely, for its diversity, for its unity, for its vision, and its calling to all citizens to build a better country. Let’s go, Joe!##