Op-EdAppeared in Charleston Gazette-Mail on July 21, 2022By Chris Stansbury and Jill Upson

Stansbury, Upson: Biden Has Failed to Unite the Country

It’s no secret our country is divided. Over the last two years, politicians and the media have driven Americans apart on nearly every issue—whether it’s healthcare, education, or the economy. And although President Joe Biden campaigned on unifying the country, his promise has fallen flat.

Earlier this year, a poll from Quinnipiac University found that nearly half of Americans believe Biden has done more to divide us, rather than unite us. It’s no surprise why. It seems at every turn, the White House has used its bully pulpit to drive a wedge between us—often using race, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status as the separator.

Biden shouldn’t overlook true instances of bigotry or corporate greed. But the White House also shouldn’t make a mountain out of a molehill or weave a fabricated narrative for political gain. Biden’s approval ratings are deeply under water and it seems he’s willing to try anything to make up ground.

In reaction to the federal overturning of Roe v. Wade, Biden seemingly used the opportunity to scare gay and interracial couples to vote Democrat in November. Delivering remarks just hours after the decision came down, he suggested the court is on an “extreme and dangerous” path that would compromise “the right to marry a person you love” next. Perhaps a legal scholar should inform him that a lone Justice doesn’t have the authority to bindingly interpret the law.

In reaction to recent news that inflation levels are still on the upswing, Biden blamed gas stations rather than his own drilling-hesitant energy policies. He tweeted, “It’s time for gas retailers to pass the cost declines they’re feeling in the market onto American families at the pump.” These accusations follow criticism of meat processors for jacking up the price of ground beef.

Sensing a pattern yet?

It wasn’t always like this. Prior to the pandemic, Americans were thriving—regardless of whatever group they belonged to. No need to rely on divisive politics to fuel electoral popularity.

Following the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and an executive directive to cut government red tape, the economy boomed. As a result, more Americans were working than ever before. Unemployment rates for minorities, including Hispanic Americans, African Americans, and Asian Americans fell to the lowest levels in history, and unemployment among women dropped to a 65-year low. Moreover, nearly seven million Americans were lifted off food stamps.

Why? Because effective policymaking was prioritized over political games.

Now, rather than pursuing economic policies that will elevate the tide to lift all boats, President Biden is spinning his wheels with reckless spending that will increase inflation further and tax hikes on pass-through small businesses. While all Americans suffer from inflation, low to middle-class Americans continue to bear the biggest brunt as the Consumer Price Index reaches an annual increase of more than nine percent—a 41-year high.

What was Biden’s reaction to the news? The data is “out-of-date.” American families are suffering and the Biden administration only has excuses. We don’t need a Divider-in-Chief, but a uniter that will give all Americans a hand up.

Dr. Chris Stansbury is a partner at West Virginia Eye Consultants, a member of the Job Creators Network, and a former Republican member of the West Virginia House of Delegates. Jill Upson is the Executive Director of the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs (HHOMA).