Thoughts On President Biden’s First Year in Office

The first year of any Presidential administration is always rocky, regardless of how much political experience the President and their team have. It is a transition that requires patience, understanding, and the knowledge that the road ahead is anything but smooth.

Last week, President Biden held a press conference marking his first full year in office. To say that it was a challenge is an understatement. Given the mess his predecessor left behind, I think we need to be a little more understanding.

Looking back, I think many of us expected Biden to twitch his nose and instantly undo the damage done by you know who. It is a task that by definition is impossible.

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The one thing that I think he has going for him is his ability to change course, genuinely listen, and apologize when necessary. I can’t say the same for he who shall not be named.

The one obstacle I see ahead of Biden and the Democrats overall is the 2022 midterms. Recent history tells us that the party in power loses its advantage in Congress every two years. The major problem this time around is that the Republicans have no problem crossing the moral lines to win elections. Michelle Obama‘s recommendation two years ago to go high when they go low will not work this time around.

We can’t completely stoop to their level, but getting a little dirty maybe the one thing that saves the nation and our Democratic model of government. If Biden wants to see his poll numbers climb and ensure that his party retains control, there are two things he must do.

  1. Get the Voting Rights legislation passed: I firmly believe that he won because he spoke to Americans who have been disenfranchised and promised to make it happen. We all know that not all promises made on the campaign trail come to fruition. But this one is the key to the future success of this administration.
  2. Kitchen table issues: Not only does he have to address the most basic of kitchen table issues, he has shout his accomplishments from the rooftops. The only way to win over Americans who believe he is doing a poor job is to reach them where they are. If they are gainfully employed with a good salary, prices are reasonable, etc, then they may finally see through the bullshit of the Republicans. Otherwise, we are facing political tumult like we have never seen before.

I wish I had a crystal ball. But I don’t. I can only hope that at some point in the near future, we can put this madness aside and return to some version of normal.


Mansfield Park Character Review: Julia Bertram

*The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the novel Mansfield Park. Read at your own risk if you have not read the book or watched any of the adaptations. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

It’s tough to be the younger sibling. There are often comparisons to the older brother or sister, forcing that person to fight for the attention and energy of their parents and other adults. In Mansfield Park, Julia Bertram is the youngest of the four Bertram children. Forever in the shadow of her elder sister, Maria, she is fighting for the spotlight. This feeling becomes even more complicated with the entrance of Mary and Henry Crawford.

Henry captures the curiosity of the sisters and flirts with both women, even though Maria is engaged. Julia does everything she can to become the sole benefactor of his time, but she is unable to convince him to see her as she would wish him to. This loss becomes even more apparent when her role in the family theatrical is downgraded when compared to the roles that her sister and Mary play.

Heartbroken when Henry leaves without proposing, she joins Maria and her new husband, Mr. Rushworth, on their honeymoon. Unlike her sister, Julia spends less time dwelling on what might have happened with him. When Maria runs away with Henry, the scandal leaves no one in the Bertram family and social circle untouched. Without an emotionally safe home to return to, she does what many women did back then. She marries the first man who pays attention to her, Tom Yates. When we last see her, she is a newlywed, running away from an unhappy home life and her potential fate as a spinster.

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To sum it up: Fighting for the limelight in a large family is never easy. Julia Bertram is an example of someone who does everything they can to be seen, but ultimately fails to. Which leads her down a path of a possibly unhappy future, due to the feeling of being ignored in favor of her sister and brothers.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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