The White House in the Time of Coronavirus
2021-01-19 | Since 4 Month
Ghassan Charbel
Ghassan Charbel

This is the week of the viewer. The images on the screen cannot be dominant and attractive unless they were American. At least so far. We have not yet embarked on the era of Chinese images although we are close to it. Of course, it will be different once it happens.

America is an open book with no secrets. China is a strict and mysterious heavily guarded fortress. In America, a journalist is bold enough to air the dirty laundry of powerful figures without having to worry about being “accidentally” run over by a speeding car or being so “emotionally distressed” as to jump off a building.

The Kremlin even though it has been gripped by a man adept at making images and shifting weapons and numbers, the world is still rapt by the American images.

The day after tomorrow will be one of those days when the viewer has their eyes turned to America. The man who engrossed the world and over whom people became so divided will leave the White House. This is America and this is what its constitution says. January 20 marks the end of the task that was entrusted by the people to Donald Trump in leading the country, which we, with some reservations, can say is leading the world.

The Americans have tasked – through elections whose results are undeniable – a man called Joe Biden to steer the ship for the coming years. The constitution is firm and unforgiving. No former captain has the right to delay their departure under any excuse. This is America. It does not tolerate the idea of an eternal historic president. A president may seek eternity by establishing a library or proposing an idea, but he cannot use various excuses to cling on to office.

America is transparent. It cannot sleep on secrets. We now know how Biden came to office and how Trump did before him. The same goes to their predecessors. However, we definitely don’t know what took place behind closed doors in Beijing that led to the rise of the new emperor, Xi Jinping. We also don’t know the true story behind how a colonel, who was tasked with recruiting new spies in Dresden on the eve of the fall of the Berlin wall, managed to legitimately take over the Kremlin and pave the way for his open-ended stay.

This inability to extend the stay without the approval of the people used to prompt some presidents in the Middle East to deem American presidents as weak because they were aware of the moment their term ends even if they were to win a second term in office. It was difficult for the incoming saviors riding on tanks to accept that their term has ended because they firmly believed that the grave alone could bring an end to a president. No constitution would dare commit such a sin.

Trump was unable to do what some presidents in the Middle East have done. He could not turn the elections into a mere referendum that measures loyalty to the president. He could not use the tanks, but replaced them with tweets to claim that the elections were rigged and that he was robbed of a victory. And because a court in America actually functions as a court, judges were not quick to attack the elections, blame foreign powers and annul the polls.

Trump will leave the White House the day after tomorrow. Forget about the red carpet, music and military challenges. The protocols of the farewell do not make the farewell any less difficult. Every farewell is difficult, so what can it possibly be like to bid farewell to the White House, the command center of the empire and “universal village”. Between rounds of golf, the departer will have plenty of time to count the number of people who betrayed him, especially in wake of the storming of the Capitol. But an unknown warrior definitely took the president and world unawares, robbing Trump of a potential victory: The coronavirus.

He will not take part in the poisoned banquet – the handover ceremony. His participation will be an acknowledgment that he is the loser – a description he hates. It means that he had gone to great ends in misinformation after the ballot boxes had their say. It means he violated democracy and the constitution or incited his supporters to carry out an attack. He does not want to yield to the results. He does not want to express his regret over the way he dealt with the mysterious guest, especially when he tried to make light of its danger and stunning ability to kill, spread and attack cities, countrysides, barracks, hospitals and lost ships at sea. He also does not want to shake the hands of the man who forced him into retirement. Every job after the White House is a form of bitter retirement because nothing can make up for this loss even if that person were to prosper later.

The day after tomorrow the man who preoccupied the world for four years will leave. He will leave wounded after the situation escalated to an extent that his rivals deprived him from his ability to tweet. This is terrible. It is difficult for the great tweeter to take in two losses: The White House and his Twitter platform. He should have known that the world is a series of rounds and chapters. He should have known that his party on Twitter was breaking apart. The tweets of a ruler are one thing, and the tweets of a former president are another. So many bitter pills to take.

The day after tomorrow we will begin following the news of another man. The news of Joe Biden. He adheres to a different rhetoric and adopts a different style. This man does not like to treat issues with blows and shocks and run the empire through tweets. He does not like to brew storms and deal blows and expect institutions to approve them. Biden comes from a long career of institutional work, committees, Congress and the American administration. He never concealed his ambitions for the top spot, but when it was impossible, he chose to stand by patiently as the number two. He is skilled in oration and grabbing the screen. He is very knowledgeable of internal and foreign files. However, luck is not on his side. The pandemic struck. It blew against Trump and Biden will not go down in history taking a backseat to it.

Biden acknowledged the message. This is the era of the coronavirus. Dealing with it will be his top priority. Advice will be left to the scientists and labs to help decision-makers save lives and the economy. The Biden administration boasts people with experience in handling traditional thorny files. The challenge today is different because this is a different enemy.

This is the week of American images. The White House will transition from the Trump to the Biden era during the open-ended coronavirus era.



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