OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
President Joe Biden made an attempt to unify the country during a Christmas address on Friday but may have wound up dividing Americans even more, considering the president’s holiday speech denoting the birth of Christ did not mention “Jesus” or “Christ” at all.
What’s more, Biden also struck a note of hypocrisy with many Americans when he implored them to “drain” political “poison” from the national conversation just a few months after he appeared to accuse roughly half the country of being “MAGA Republicans” he suggested were a major threat to the stability of the country and its democratic institutions.
“How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given,” Biden, who is Catholic, began in an address to reporters at the White House. He went on to speak about a “child” born on Christmas but did not identify the child — Jesus — by name.
There is a certain stillness at the center of the Christmas story. A silent night when all the world goes quiet and all the glamour, all the noise, everything that divides us, everything that pits us against one another, everything — everything that seems so important but really isn’t, this all fades away in stillness of the winter’s evening.
And we look to the sky, to a lone star, shining brighter than all the rest, guiding us to the birth of a child — a child Christians believe to be the son of God; miraculously now, here among us on Earth, bringing hope, love and peace and joy to the world.
Yes, it’s a story that’s 2,000 years old, but it’s still very much alive today. Just look into the eyes of a child on Christmas morning, or listen to the laughter of a family together this holiday season after years — after years of being apart. Just feel the hope rising in your chest as you sing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” even though you’ve sung the countless times before.
Yes, even after 2,000 years, Christmas still has the power to lift us up, to bring us together, to change lives, to change the world.
The Christmas story is at the heart of the Christmas — Christian faith. But the message of hope, love, peace, and joy, they’re also universal.
It speaks to all of us, whether we’re Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, or any other faith, or no faith at all. It speaks to all of us as human beings who are here on this Earth to care for one another, to look out for one another, to love one another.
The message of Christmas is always important, but it’s especially important through tough times, like the ones we’ve been through the past few years.
He noted further that his “hope this Christmas season is that we take a few moments of quiet reflection and find that stillness in the heart of Christmas — that’s at the heart of Christmas, and look — really look at each other, not as Democrats or Republicans, not as members of ‘Team Red’ or ‘Team Blue,’ but as who we really are: fellow Americans. Fellow human beings worthy of being treated with dignity and respect.
“I sincerely hope this … this holiday season will drain the poison that has infected our politics and set us against one another,” Biden continued. “I hope this Christmas season marks a fresh start for our nation, because there is so much that unites us as Americans, so much more that unites us than divides us.
“We’re truly blessed to live in this nation. And I truly hope we take the time to look out — look out for one another. Not at one — for one another,” he added.
In September — at the height of campaign season, however — Biden’s tone was far more divisive and accusatory.
“We must be honest with each other and with ourselves,” he said during the speech at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, with a pair of U.S. Marines in the background. “Too much of what’s happening in our country today is not normal. Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.”
“MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution,” he claimed without context or explanation. “They do not believe in the rule of law. They do not recognize the will of the people. They refuse to accept the results of a free election.”
“MAGA forces are determined to take this country backwards. Backwards to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love,” he falsely stated.
“They promote authoritarian leaders and they fan the flames of political violence that are a threat to our personal rights, to the pursuit of justice, to the rule of law, to the very soul of this country,” the president added.