Joe Biden: A Dangerous Presidency
Presidential Candidate Joe Biden
It is common fodder for writers to use frightening language to influence people. Pundits constantly revile political opposition by using hyperbolic descriptors not unlike the one I’m using now, “dangerous.” I believe the word is tossed around too frequently, even carelessly, so it is with some reserve that I use it to head this article. I assure the reader that the words that follow are applied judiciously and accurately in that my effort to present Joe Biden as dangerous will be done using his own words, in context, rather than my particular political leaning.
A Not So Subtle Threat
New Hampshire. February 9, 2020
While stumping in New Hampshire Mr. Biden made the following comment:
"Those who say 'the tree of liberty is watered with the blood of patriots' -- a great line, but, guess what: The fact is, if you’re going to take on the government you need an F-15 with Hellfire Missiles. There is no way an AK-47 is going to take care of you."
I would like to examine Mr. Biden’s statement line by line.
A Great Line: Line 1
1. “Those who say ‘the tree of liberty is watered with the blood of patriots’ it’s a great line but guess what…”
The “Great Line”
The “great line” was coined by Thomas Jefferson and I think it is a line worthy of further consideration. The Founders differed greatly on many issues. One issue happened to be the propriety of retaining a standing Army. Jefferson believed in militia’s, not professional armed forces. The way militia’s, in general, worked was to have able bodied men in every town and in every state across the country ready to assemble for regional armed strife should it arise. Should the need rise to the level of national/international conflict, militia’s would assemble and travel to destinations determined by the upper echelons of government. The idea of not maintaining a standing army might seem antiquated to us in the 21st century, after all, if attacked we need to be able to respond with immediacy and with an effective, well trained armed force. There are certainly arguments on both sides of that issue, for example on the other hand, if we did have militia’s instead of standing armies we would still be able to rapidly assemble due to our access to high speed travel, remote warfare, etc. But why was Jefferson against maintaining a standing army in the first place? Jefferson, an avid student of history, understood that the presence of a standing army represented a threat to the freedom of the people. Rome had for centuries dreaded the endless litany of battles and massacres that were brought on by competing generals vying for power. It happened with Caesar, Pompeii, Marc Anthony, Augustus, just part of a long list of bloodshed, a list, Jefferson thought, would be much shorter had it not been for the presence of professional, standing armies.
But the Founders need not look to the pages of antiquity alone to observe tyranny and abuse heaped upon a defenseless citizenry. They could see it in their own day so much so that The Declaration of Independence features a grievance leveled directly at the practice of maintaining a standing army.
He (King George III) has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislatures.”- one of the 27 grievances contained in the Declaration of Independence.— Excerpt from The Declaration of Independence
This particular grievance was addressed again some 14 years later when it was included in the 3rd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.— 3rd amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Examples of Countries Turning the Military Against Their Own People
These Jeffersonian quotations reveal a general understanding and consensus among the Founders regarding the threat posed by a standing army inasmuch that they had to, as a group, agree to adding the 3rd amendment to the Constitution. They had studied the presence and effects of standing armies, their potential for supporting despotism and persecuting the citizenry, and they had seen it in their own day under the heavy hand of King George lll. In other words this belief was not theoretical, it was factual, historical as well as concurrent. We might be tempted to say, “But that was so long ago. It could never happen in this day and age.” Recall that famous quote- “What we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat.” My parents have personal recollection of Nazi Germany turning its police and military forces against its own people. China did the same during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. “Red Dragon Rising: Communist China’s Military Threat To America” by Edward Timperlake and William C. Tripplett ll chronicles China’s violent suppression of student protests. Ideologically trained troops were transferred from Northern China to Tiananmen, troops that would have no sentimental connection to the students they were ordered to kill. Thousands died by machine gun fire, others disappeared never to be heard from again. Could this happen in America? No one really knows. The point is, Jefferson and the Founders wanted more of a citizen soldier apparatus in place, local and regional protectors that felt a sense of communal relation and neighborly affection to other citizens. Such an arrangement would make suppression and harassment very unlikely.
The Abuses Listed Below Would Not Have Been Enforceable Without A Standing Army
I petition the reader to bear with me as I cite a few relevant excerpts from President Lincoln’s first inaugural address. I believe the contrast between Mr. Biden and President Lincoln will provide a demonstration how to and how not to address dissenting countrymen.
“Resolved, that the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgement exclusively, is essential to that balance of power on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend; and we denounce the lawless invasion of armed force of the soil of any State or territory, no matter what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.
I now reiterate these sentiments, and in doing so I only press upon the public attention the most conclusive evidence of which the case is susceptible that the property, peace, and security of no section are to be in any wise endangered by the now incoming administration. I add, too, that all the protection which, consistently with the Constitution and the laws, can be given will be cheerfully given to all the States when lawfully demanded, for whatever cause- as cheerfully to one section as to another.”
—Paragraphs 6 and 7 of President Lincoln’s First Inaugural address
Founders Concerns Summary
The concerns of the Founders can be summed up this way: They believed the continual presence of a professional military force controlled by a centralized government would be an ideal set up for a military dictatorship. In the spirit of compromise, something at which the Founders excelled, our nation’s leader holds a civilian rather than military designation. The so-called “Commander in Chief” is a civilian title, held by a civilian, who has some control of our military forces. The checks and balances put in place by the Founders ensured the best defense against a despotic ruler functioning in the capacity of a national war lord. This is why it takes Congress and the POTUS working together to declare war, hence war powers do not reside in totality with any sole person or body.
Mr. Biden’s casual citing of the Jefferson quote is disconcerting, in part, because of the glib way in which he cites it. Jefferson’s statement about the “tree of liberty being watered with the blood of patriots” was not intended to be pithy, catchy or a “great line” as Biden says; It was intended rather, to be a warning to any would be suppressive or tyrannical government as well as an exhortation to an armed citizenry. It is a reminder that the power of the nation rests ultimately with the people, not the government. It is this point that Mr. Biden seems to miss. Failure to apprehend this crucial piece of American culture and history would make a Biden presidency a dangerous one.
A Veiled Threat: Line 2
If you’re going to take on the government you’ll need an F-15 with Hell-fire missiles.
Appeal vs. Agression
I draw your attention to the tone of these excerpts. It is one of conciliation, protection, and peace. President Lincoln understood the volatility of the situation. Seven heavily armed states had just seceded from the Union, four more would follow in coming months, and the country stood upon the precipice of civil war. Lincoln didn’t want it. He wanted peace, and so while his address would include all Americans he would also direct a fair amount of it specifically to those that opposed his presidency to the point of leaving the Union. He appealed to them in the spirit of peace, filial affection, and reconciliation. He was careful to avoid any language that could be interpreted as threatening to those states which had chosen to secede.
The flippancy with which Joe Biden speaks when it comes to this issue, the idea of an armed electorate taking back a rogue government, he doesn’t realize how thin the ice is. The concept of patriotism, loyalty to the nation and fellow citizens rather than to the government, is one that is dear to many Americans; Americans ready and willing to fight back should they be assailed by a tyrannical government.
Section 2 of Mr. Biden’s statement, “if you’re going to take on the government you’re going to need an F-15 with hellfire missiles…” carries an obvious threat. The question of whether or not he meant it literally misses the point- When the government, or its officers, start talking to the American people about armed conflict between the American people and the government, eye brows raise. Such language is not only inflammatory, but a good reminder of why Americans have the right to bear arms guaranteed in the 2nd amendment. To gun owners Mr. Biden’s statement is nothing less than a taunt. It is also a testament to the senator’s lack of knowledge, or suppression of it, regarding the Russian/Afghan war that raged for 10 years. Russian forces, while obviously larger and better equipped, were unable to subdue this small, tenacious, assemblage of guerilla tactical combatants. Mighty Russian forces were defeated with little more than small arms. It should be recalled from our own history that the shot heard “around the world,” the shot that started the Revolutionary War, was fired because 700 British troops had come to disarm militia’s around Lexington and Concord. These militia’s had stockpiled cannons that served no other purpose but to kill the king’s soldiers. In their time they were considered “weapons of mass destruction” and they were possessed by minutemen; able bodied men from the countryside, not so different than the hunters and farmers here in my own state of Michigan. 77 Militiamen defeated those 700 British troops and started a war, one that would result in the continued understanding that for a people to be truly free, they must retain the right to bear arms against any hostile force, foreign or domestic.
Also troubling from this section is the accusation Mr. Biden’s statement carries:
“If YOU’RE going to take on the government.”
The average gun owner is certainly not conspiring to “take on” the government. The premise has always been that the gun owner owns a gun that he may DEFEND himself and his property from an aggressive government. I add this; it is the aggressor, always the aggressor, that taunts.
Your Guns Won’t Protect You From the Government: Line 3
“There is no way an AK-47 is going to take care of you."
The Preferable Approach of Lincoln
How different Mr. Biden’s language is toward political/ideological rivals than was President Lincoln’s. Consider these closing lines from Lincoln’s first inaugural address:
“In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors.”
It was a promise he kept. The government did not attack the South. It was the South that fired the first shots upon Ft. Sumter that hailed the beginning of the Civil War.
Differentiating between the two approaches, Lincoln’s and Biden’s, we see repeatedly Lincoln’s words reflecting a desire for peace, a desire to avoid conflict. In Mr. Biden’s we see, repeatedly, threats and taunting. President Lincoln Concluded his address with a final plea to those who wanted war:
“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
Mr. Biden is making the same error Hillary Clinton made in her 2016 bid for the presidency when she called Trump supporters “deplorables.”
The American people cannot be won over by insults and threats. I do not recall an instance in our nation’s history when a candidate for the presidency threatened to unleash the might of the American armed forces against the American people as candidate Biden has done.
Americans, if you are listening, if you are reading, take this message to heart: There are forces at work in our great nation working to radically change our country for the worse.
Earlier we mentioned the old adage, “What we do not learn from history we are doomed to repeat.” As Joe Biden might say, It’s a good line. Consider it’s more ominous counterpart: “What we learn from history is that we do not learn from history.” May we do the former and in so doing rebut the latter.
“To be forewarned is to be forearmed.” Praemonitus
What we learn from history, is that we do not learn from history.
Dr. J. Rufus Fears: The Guns of Lexington
The Value of a 30 minute lecture by historian Dr. J. Rufus Fears, cannot be overstated.
Red Dragon Rising
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Leland Johnson