While President Joe Biden is rebuilding global leadership, staring down Vladimir Putin, nominating ambassadors and judges, improving and humanizing border security, and fighting domestic terrorists, his administration is also making Fourth of July plans to honor our country and a fair-sized crowd of fellow hard-working patriots at the White House:
To celebrate the resumption of pre-pandemic life, Biden is looking to celebrate the July Fourth holiday as “a summer of freedom.”
He plans to host first responders, essential workers and military service members and their families on the South Lawn of the White House for a cookout and to watch the fireworks over the National Mall. More than 1,000 guests are expected, officials said [Zeke Miller, “‘A Summer of Freedom’: Vaccine Gives New Meaning to July 4th,” AP, 2021.06.15].
Cooking out at the White House and watching Champ and Major frolic about trying to bite people’s wieners? That sounds more fun than tanks.
Governor Kristi Noem hears “fireworks” and starts barking that Biden’s Independence Day plans are somehow “hypocritical” after the Interior Department and a federal court rejected her request to shoot bang-bangs at Mount Rushmore:
Gov. Noem tweeted at President Biden “why are you being so hypocritical? You’re having your own personal fireworks show in DC, but South Dakotans are told no?” on Tuesday.
The governor also tweeted that the state will resubmit its request to hold a fireworks display at Mount Rushmore [staff, “Noem to Resubmit Mount Rushmore Fireworks Display Permit, Calls Biden ‘Hypocritical’,” KSFY, 2021.06.15].
Wow—what is it about fireworks that makes Noem lose track of facts and logic? Or are falsehood and irrationality just an inherent part of her character?
- It’s hard for Noem to call the fireworks on the National Mall, an event far more open to the public than the Mount Rushmore fireworks, Biden’s “personal fireworks show” without opening the door to calling her devoutly sought, profile-boosting Rushmore fireworks extravaganzas her “personal fireworks shows.” Biden hosting firefighters for supper and inviting them to hang out and watch the national fireworks from the White House lawn is not a “personal fireworks show”; the Republican National Committee’s launching fireworks that spell out their nominee’s name over the National Mall at the end of their nominee’s convention speech from the White House (and scorching the Washington Monument, and doing $42K worth of damage to turf and a fountain)—now that’s a personal fireworks show.
- To argue “hypocrisy,” Noem must posit that the federal government is taking contradictory actions in similar situations. Shooting fireworks over the nation’s capital is not a similar situation to shooting fireworks over Mount Rushmore because the White House and our capital’s monuments are not situated in a combustible forest that’s hard to access with firetrucks.
- President Biden’s invitation to a thousand public servants to come enjoy supper at his house actually exposes Governor Noem’s hypocrisy. She is free to do exactly what President Biden is doing: she could invite a thousand people to enjoy a July 4th picnic on her taxpayer-provided lawn at her taxpayer-provided mansion. She could let them stay past ten p.m. and watch Pierre’s great fireworks display (except—oh, darn!—in April, the Pierre City Commission revoked last year’s temporary in-town fireworks ordinance, so maybe Noem could bus everyone down to the river to watch the Fort Pierre fireworks). The White House is even encouraging Noem and other local leaders to host similar events:
The White House is hoping to see similar Independence Day activities across the country, a year after the virus forced a mass cancellation of festivities.
“We welcome you to join us by hosting your own events to honor our freedom, salute those who have been serving on the frontlines, and celebrate our progress in fighting this pandemic,” the White House wrote in an email to state and local officials Tuesday. It asked them to share their own plans, which the administration would later highlight.
“America is headed into a summer dramatically different from last year,” the administration wrote to officials. “A summer of freedom. A summer of joy. A summer of reunions and celebrations” [Miller, 2021.06.15].
The Biden Administration wants to celebrate patriots and patriotism and bring the country together. Noem just wants to snark, stir conflict, and celebrate herself.