Former Vice President Joe Biden offered America a glimpse of his prospective administration’s priorities in an address on Wednesday.
According to the Daily Caller, Biden is now taking flak for one particular line of his talk that seemed to confirm rumors that Biden would forcibly subject American citizens to quarantine if they test positive for COVID-19.
“Starting on Day One”
The former vice president’s remarks began with a reference to the Thanksgiving holiday, recalling its inception and early focus on the importance of remaining grateful and hopeful in the face of loss or sacrifice.
In that vein, Biden urged Americans to forgo the typical large family gatherings associated with the holiday and refrain from travel, opting instead to stay at home and celebrate with only those in their immediate circle. He signaled that he would be following that advice.
Describing it as Americans’ “patriotic duty,” Biden said citizens should feel obliged to refrain from gatherings as well as follow public health guidelines like wearing face masks and practicing social distancing.
“Starting on Day One of my presidency, we will take steps that will change the course of the disease,” Biden promised, according to a transcript from KTIV. “More testing will find people with cases and get them away from one another, slowing the number of infections.”
Biden followed up by calling on all Americans to do their part in battling the ongoing public health crisis.
“The federal government has vast powers to combat this virus,” he said. “And I commit to you I will use all those power to lead a national coordinated response.”
A look ahead
It remains unclear to what extent those “vast powers” might be used to “find people with cases,” which is enough to give more than a few citizens cause for alarm.
Early on in the pandemic, a Bloomberg op-ed made the argument that forced quarantines were antithetical to the long-cherished American ideals of personal freedom and liberty — not to mention due process afforded under the U.S. Constitution.
Not everyone agrees, however, and an explanatory piece published in July by The New York Times suggested that both state and federal government entities had the authority to forcibly quarantine infected citizens by means of broadly applied “police powers” granted in the interest of the common good and public health.
For now, Biden’s precise stance on the issue is a mystery. Given the widespread belief that he did not even rightfully earn the electoral win declared by the mainstream media, however, it is clear that millions of Americans are inclined to tread skeptically.