I was watching the new documentary “The Beatles: Get Back” when I started thinking about how to visually and satirically sum up this year in politics. And it dawned on me: President Joe Biden thought his first year was going to be like a happy Beatles song. The country needed help. It was time to get back and come together … over him. We could get by with a little help from our friends!
Biden thought his many old friends on both sides of the aisle in the Senate, as well as his decades of experience as a D.C. deal-maker, meant he could come into the White House and get stuff done. After all, we were in the midst of a historic global pandemic that had brought the economy to a dead stop. If ever there was a time to come together as a country, this was it, and Biden was the kind of guy who could bridge the partisan divide, bring some civility back to Washington and unify a beleaguered county … with a little help from his friends. But that song was perhaps a bit too optimistic for the Biden agenda, especially when considering who these “friends” are.
During his first year in office, Biden’s call to our better angels had a hard time cutting through the din. Maybe it’s Covid-19, maybe it’s the algorithms that appear to have permanently polarized our politics, but Biden’s calls for unity and compromise seem like a sweet Beatles tune sung by a nostalgic old guy from a bygone era. And his friends from both sides of the aisle were no help, when he really needed somebody.
In 2021 — the first year of the Biden presidency — the nation just seemed to want to double down on divisiveness. From our inability to come together to fight the coronavirus, or unify in defense of our basic democratic institutions after Jan. 6, it became clear the nation just wasn’t in a mood to put the unum back in our pluribus.
Picking up where they left off with its eight-year project to stymie the Obama presidency, the GOP has been very disciplined in not letting Biden find the tiniest foothold for any bipartisanship. Like the Blue Meanies in “Yellow Submarine,” they were out to stymie him at every move.
With the Senate tied up at 50-50 and a narrow majority in the House, the president couldn’t even muster much unity within his own party. Aside from success restarting the economy and also the singular triumph of finally starting to fix our broken infrastructure, the Biden agenda remains stalled by gridlock in Congress — and all the while the coronavirus continues to mutate.
So hey, Joe, it’s a sad song, but we can make it better. After all, it’s a long and winding road. Maybe somehow we might be able to get back and come together. Biden’s magical mystery tour has just begun.
Please enjoy our very Beatles parody of Joe Biden’s hard day’s night and year, 2021.