Untitled, Watercolor, 21.5 x 29.5, Richard J Van Wagoner, Courtesy Van Wagoner Family Trust**
I began blogging within ten days of the last inauguration. After hearing President Obama’s final speech as President, I felt compelled to write and was just arrogant enough to think others might care what I had to say. To those who follow my blog – thank you. The fact that you read it and make such meaningful, incisive comments matters. And I thank my father for leaving us such a wondrous legacy with his art, my daughter Angla for having photographed his work, and my brother Rob for editing my blog. I don't know whether my dad would agree with everything I say, but I believe he would be delighted that I accompany his beautiful works with my writing. He would, I suspect, care that I think over what I think. This is blog post #211.
I learned very early that any meaningful commentary about policy in the Trump era inevitably included a discussion of his illegitimacy, incompetence, dishonesty, and corruption. In most every category, the lines merged. Policy, such as it was, grew out of or overlapped with those defining characteristics. He was, and is, a fraud in every conceivable sense.
President Biden faces serious crises, as is the trend when Democrats take over the White House from Republican Administrations. I look forward to closely watching, examining and, from time to time, commenting on him, his progress and that of his administration. I will do my best to focus on the merits.
Whether you agree with Mr. Biden’s policies, a person of extreme decency, true compassion, and deep empathy is now at the helm. Mr. Biden has stated his intention to fulfill America’s moral imperative of righting as many of Trump’s wrongs and evils as he can, through executive order and, hopefully, by having a working relationship with Congress.
With a Biden presidency, we can be reasonably assured the President is motivated by what he truly believes is in the best interests of the country and not himself; that he cares deeply about the citizens of the Country, their lives, health, safety, and welfare; is surrounding himself with fully vetted, competent, law-abiding professionals; will not misuse the office for personal financial gain and/or for that of his family and friends (in transparent compliance with the emoluments clause); has no undisclosed conflicts of interest that would impair his carrying out the oath of office; values competence over fealty and will not make decisions based on praise or flattery; values expertise including science; takes every conceivable measure to reduce threats to and protect and have the backs of our troops, the United States service men and women who are in harm’s way; moves the country toward equal application of the law without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or social or financial status; fiercely opposes human rights violations, war crimes and crimes against humanity throughout the world; respects First Amendment rights of assembly, speech and protest without regard to viewpoint, and takes no illegal efforts to suppress such assembly, speech or protest, but would never abuse his own right by inciting violence; respects the First Amendment right of the press and understands its foundational role in preserving liberal democracy; discourages and works toward eliminating foreign interference and influence in United States elections; stands up to and faces down authoritarians and despots; accepts and depends on information provided by United States intelligence agencies over that from tabloid news organizations and despots; is curious; reads; won’t govern by tweet; recognizes the constitutional importance of checks and balances and oversight by the coordinate branches of government; protects whistleblowers and inspectors general; will never incite an insurrection against the United States; will maintain independence between the White House and the Department of Justice; fully endorses the peaceful transfer of power; and has not committed tax fraud, tax evasion, money laundering, securities fraud, insurance fraud, mortgage fraud, bank fraud, obstruction of justice, obstruction of congress, perjury, bribery, solicitation of bribery, extortion, violation of campaign finance laws, conspiracy to undermine a lawful election and disenfranchise millions of voters, other forms of public corruption.
*My brother the very talented fiction writer and novelist, Robert Hodgson Van Wagoner, deserves considerable credit for offering both substantive and technical suggestions to https://medium.com/@richardvanwagoner and https://lastamendment.com. Rob’s second novel, a beautifully written suspense drama that takes place in Utah, Wyoming and Norway, dropped on November17, 2020 fall. Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple Bookstore and your favorite local bookshop, this novel, The Contortionists, which Rob himself narrates for the audio version, is a psychological page-turner about a missing child in a predominantly Mormon community.
**Richard J Van Wagoner is my father. His list of honors, awards and professional associations is extensive. He was Professor Emeritus (Painting and Drawing), Weber State University, having served three Appointments as Chair of the Department of Visual Arts there. He guest-lectured and instructed at many universities and juried numerous shows and exhibitions. He was invited to submit his work as part of many shows and exhibitions, and his work was exhibited in a number of traveling shows domestically and internationally. My daughter Angela Moore, a professional photographer, photographed more than 500 pieces of my father's work. On behalf of the Van Wagoner Family Trust, she is in the process of compiling a collection of his art work. The photographs of my father's art reproduced in https://medium.com/@richardvanwagoner and https://lastamendment.com are hers