Unity Is Only Possible When Things Get Done

Harrison Hamm
4 min readMar 2, 2022
Biden aimed for bipartisanship in the State of the Union, which admittedly is not always a great approach. This time it makes sense.

A section of Joe Biden’s first State of the Union address stood out to me last night. Later in the speech, he unveiled what he called a “unity agenda” — a plan that tackles four different issues that he laid out during the speech.

Those issues, more than anything that he talked about in the speech (apart from Ukraine), have a strong national consensus. Everyone at least in theory supports them: 1) stop the opioid crisis; 2) support mental health, especially for children on social media; 3) support veterans in need; 4) target cancer research and treatments.

Who disagrees with these things? These are not hot-button political issues. There are no immediate Culture War debates to be had. I would like to see the person who wants the opioid crisis to continue and disagrees with trying to find a cure for cancer. (Actually, to be fair, I just described the pharmaceutical industry.)

It is harder for Republicans to find fiery responses to these proposals, and that, I imagine, is by design. Biden is not focusing on issues that Republicans have already imparted on their voters as being the purview of the Big, Bad Democrats. These issues are not directly related to race or gender, so even the bigots have to be on board. It’s not climate change, immigration, abortion, criminal justice, or even healthcare. Republicans have talked those issues down.

This four-part plan really does inspire at least momentary unity. Everyone clapped for them, because how can you not? It is politically smart for a president with a low approval rating in a midterm year to do everything he can to position himself as someone who can help and appeal to the maximum number of people.

People listening to this, even those that are just waiting to call him Brandon, must have been able to nod their heads when he was saying these things. Their only possible concern, which of course is unfounded, is that all government spending is bad and their taxes are going to go up because of this. Even then, let’s be real: Biden went up on stage and said “let’s help vets and cure cancer.”

So, get on it, Democrats! This is easier said than done, obviously, but there is a lot of merit to focusing on issues that have such wide consensus. It is easier for a Republican in Congress to go…