Letters to the Editor: Joe Biden needs to be bold like FDR, not conciliatory like Barack Obama

Flags on the National Mall ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration.
Flags are placed on the National Mall, with the U.S. Capitol in the background, ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: Joe Biden has a choice after he is sworn in as president — he can be like Franklin D. Roosevelt, he can be like his predecessor Barack Obama, but he cannot be both.

He can either boldly move forward with grand social programs that will help the people, or he can try to placate corporations and the Republican Party, as Obama did, which would set up the Democrats to lose Congress and other seats across the country.

I’m asking our two Democratic senators, Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla, to push Biden toward the former and away from the latter. Bold programs are the only way for the Democratic Party to start winning back the hearts and minds of the American people.


James Schatte, Altadena


To the editor: Donald Trump, the outgoing president, has succeeded in militarizing the nation’s capital. In 2019 he positioned tanks in Washington for the Fourth of July celebration, and now his actions have necessitated the garrisoning of armed forces there for something as simple as a presidential inauguration.

Trump’s actions force a giant step away from rule of law and toward military rule. Forces probably will remain somewhere near the nation’s capital after the inauguration; others will also remain in state capitals.

The outgoing president hoped it would be him and his friends in local statehouses commanding these forces. But, not to worry, Democratic rulers could take a shine to the whole junta idea too. We’ll see.

Kimball Shinkoskey, Woods Cross, Utah


To the editor: I’ve watched presidential inaugurations going all the way back to Dwight Eisenhower on a tiny black-and-white television. In 2013, I had the opportunity to attend one in person.

A crowd that size can be unnerving. No one could move more than a foot without stepping around someone.

And yet, it could not have been more “American.” Taller people moved to let children and shorter people have better sight lines. Strangers spoke comfortably and shared personal stories. I even heard singing.

After the ceremony, getting off the National Mall took almost an hour. A woman with two children grabbed a handful of my coat as I weaved my way to the street. When we found some open space, she simply smiled and moved on with her kids. In the packed Washington Metro stations, strangers helped tourists with passes and directions.

It saddens me to think that no one can have this experience today because of the foolish and misguided behavior of those who don’t or won’t understand how our system works.

Todd Rutherford, Riverside


To the editor: As the 46th president of the United States is sworn into office, it’s time to not only reestablish a government for all people, but also to bring back an important sign of that unity — the American flag.

As one of the most sacred symbols of freedom and democracy, our flag has increasingly been used as a tool by those who promote division, hate and even violence. It’s a symbol that needs to be seen once again as one that represents all Americans, no matter their party or politics.

It should be displayed proudly and often by every citizen and only mean one thing — pride in our country, democracy and justice for all.

Dotty Diemer, Los Alamitos


To the editor: Republican politicians, the path to reconciliation is simple: Denounce Trump’s big lie, officially refuted scores of times that the election was stolen. Acknowledge that Biden won the 2020 election and will today become the legitimate president of the United States.

Then our country can begin to move forward. You just need to speak the truth.

Karl Newmeyer, Del Mar