Despite a strong clamor to prosecute his predecessor Donald Trump, President Joe Biden appears to be giving more weight on the implications of such a divisive process that will have profound effects on his aim to be a unifying leader.
Rich in tradition, America does not have a history of prosecuting a former head of government which will tend to weaken the global perception on the remaining superpower.
Biden, based on his statements prior to his inaugural, expressed his desire to focus on his policy plans instead of running after Trump.
Many of those who elected him think otherwise: “He’s a crook and he needs to pay,” a Biden supporter insisted.
Biden was quoted as saying he didn’t think it was “good for democracy” to prosecute a former president.
America’s new chief is absolutely right if the reference would be the experience of the Philippines.
After the late President Cory Aquino drew first blood by prosecuting former President Ferdinand Marcos, two former Presidents have been convicted and detained and now her son, former President Noynoy Aquino, faces a mountain of legal suits.
Noynoy, however, will not likely land in jail since President Rodrigo Duterte has the same sentiment as Biden about giving deference and not prosecuting former Presidents.
When Noynoy launched his campaign against his political targets led by Gloria Arroyo whom he succeeded, his entire six-year term was devoted to the Daang Matuwid campaign of political retaliation.
By way of governance, Noynoy did little as the economy failed to reach its full potential since he underspent the budget in a simplistic effort to obtain higher credit ratings by narrowing the budget deficit.
While the economy grew consistently, the government under Noynoy failed to provide the necessary infrastructure to sustain development.
What happened then was business expanded in spite of the lethargic government while many Filipinos remained unemployed and poor as the expected trickle down did not happen.
Throughout the Noynoy Aquino administration, the poverty rate stagnated at 25 percent of the population.
When President Duterte took over, within two years the level of poor Filipinos compared to the population dropped to 16 percent.
Mr. Biden’s point is that creating and sustaining political friction will sap energy that would be best devoted to ensuring a robust economy.
His often-expressed desire not to dwell on the sins or even the potential crimes of the ex-president, in the name of national unity, however, clashed with the demand of many of his supporters to punish Trump and his enablers.
Political pundits said that Biden sticking to his principle may alienate some of those who voted for him who were inspired less by passion for him than by rage at the former president.
News outlets in the United States which have long suffered from Trump’s description of them as purveyors of fake news are also out for blood, stating that it would be a mistake to let go of the businessman president.
Biden who appears to be a seasoned public official, would find the right balance between justice and the more urgent needs of his country.
Falling into the trap of vindictiveness will likely result in the stupor that afflicted the 2010-2016 Aquino administration.