It is empirically, irrefutable, that our perceived apprehension of others is acquired from mutual social experience, that it is non-scientific, but, admittedly, a subjective phenomenon. Much depends upon one’s previously established stereotypic images or, recollected impressions, of past interactive experiences. One’s own self-image, on the other hand, would seem to be the product of judgmental recollection of our lifetime reactions to presenting stimuli.
The quality of our recollected evaluation of others often depends upon the perceptual impact of their appearance, statements and actions. At times, inconvenient, facile and inaccurate fashion, one creates categorical or judgmental imagery of third parties, viz., stereotypes, construed in accordance with his perception of former experience. These effortless impressions, are tempting and convenient, but, all too often, unjust and inaccurate. It is inarguable, that our empirical experiences are finite, in number and that perceptions of the same, are subjective.
In an earlier writing, we expressed our strong negative reaction to the injustice created by the evaluation of insufficiently known individuals, reductively, based upon established stereotypes of others with whom we have had substantial, interactive experience. It would appear somewhat tautological, to declare that every individual has his own unique persona and life experience. Expectations of the quality of future performance of an individual, based on a perceived resemblance to another, or, the predictive comparison of differentiated individuals are equally reductive and illogical.
With these basic concepts in mind, and relevant to our present theme, we sought to understand the [merely] lukewarm praise, generally accorded by the media, to the Biden Administration, in lieu of what we observe to be, its outstandingly fine record, to date.
Initially, it is to be borne in mind, that Joseph Biden, upon entering Presidential office, inherited a roiling mortal pandemic [exacerbated by his incapable and ignorant predecessor], a seriously declining economy, a worsening and unaddressed, global warming, [the latter, already evincing tragic meteorological consequences], an autocratic insurrection upon the Washington Capitol, a Senate, controlled by a Trump acolyte Republican majority, the refusal of two obdurate, Congressional Democrats, to participate, in a needed elimination of the filibuster, the elimination of which would be crucial to halting Republican attacks on the right to vote [most especially, the vote of our black and brown communities].
Observably, the capable and informed policies of President Biden, after merely nine months in office, resulted in a Nationwide rational, and scientific program to fight the Covid pandemic, a much-improved, recovering economy [inclusive of a laudable, major reduction in child poverty], a wider citizen understanding and mobilization regarding global warming, the withdrawal from the useless and costly war in Afghanistan [specifically promised by previous Presidents], and a much needed restoration of universal respect for America’s Oval Office. Unlike his incompetent predecessor, he has appointed a Cabinet of knowledgeable, dedicated and qualified Secretaries, and a qualified and non-partisan, Attorney General. Biden has consistently and appropriately, demonstrated an empathic response to National tragedies, earning himself, the sobriquet of “Consoler in Chief.”
In light of the above, we confidently, attribute his lukewarm [as opposed to celebratory] approval, to the social and psychological dynamics, set forth in the earlier parts of this essay, which can be analytically, and relevantly, described as the error of comparative, “false equivalency.”
In the referenced, earlier writing, likewise entitled, “Great Expectations,” we severely criticized the reductive, lazy practice of maintaining a fixed, stereotypical expectation of others, who summon up some similarity with another person, with whom the observer had good or bad experience. The writing dealt with the unfairness of ascribing a persona, based on limited and subjective perception.
The election of Joseph Biden was, inarguably, a great relief, after the incapable and ignorant, clown show of the orange-haired darling, of America’s underbelly, Donald Trump; regarding whom, the Nation would have had little expectation of an acceptable, let alone, competent, performance. With reference to the present, themed, quirk in human judgment, the comparative ascendance to the Oval Office [mercifully] of Joseph Biden, appears to have elicited somehow, an unfair standard of unrealistically high, media expectations.
This is a classic case of the perceptual error of comparing apples and oranges, or “false equivalence,” noted above. The media and the Nation should appropriately, and fairly, construe their judgments, upon the demonstrated, [excellent] beginning of Biden’s first term as President, and not on their personal, referential or esoteric expectations.
* [once more, apologies for the title, to Mr. Charles Dickens]