In recent months, I’ve been amused at the sight of the following campaign sign: Any Functioning Adult 2020. Yes, it’s very tempting to feel that way, isn’t it?
The way things are going in this country, a functional and literate adult would be a luxury that we simply do not have. We’re jumping from one catastrophe to the next under the current president, from a raging pandemic and wildfires to racial inequality and injustice. And his only answer seems to be: “Elect me, or this is what you’re going to get in a Biden presidency.”
Of course, what’s happening now is on his watch, not Joe Biden’s, a fact he deceptively and casually refuses to acknowledge. Unfortunately, his cult band of followers will blindly nod their heads in agreement at whatever utterances ooze from their dear leader’s mouth.
In this election, we cannot worry about those voters. But we do have some voters who aren’t wholeheartedly convinced that Joe Biden is a viable alternative. It’s hard to believe for most of us out here, especially those who pay attention to the most corrupt and inept administration’s daily goings-on in modern times. To many of us, it’s Biden or bust.
And while Jill and I will undoubtedly spend time over the next eight weeks explaining why we must vote against the current president (the evidence is overwhelming), merely ignoring who he’s running against is unacceptable. And you should always give voters a reason to vote for someone.
The contrast between Joe Biden and the current president is striking, although they actually have one thing in common: both are a couple of old white guys. Other than that, take your pick – you couldn’t find two more different candidates.
So to those voters who aren’t quite sure about Joe Biden, the person and the politician, here are a few facts about him to keep in mind when contemplating whether to give the former Vice-president your vote.
The Early Years
*Born November 20, 1942, in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Joe would become the oldest president in history if sworn in on January 20, 2021: 78 years-old.
*When he was 10, Joe and his family moved to Claymont, Delaware, which is where he spent most of the rest of his life. He enrolled at the University of Delaware, where he double-majored in history and political science. Later, he went on to earn his law degree at Syracuse University.
*Eventually, Joe gets married to Neilla Hunter, and they have three children: Robert “Beau” Biden 111, Robert Hunter, and Naomi Christina.
*While practicing law at a firm in Wilmington and working part-time as a public defender, he launched his first-ever campaign for the New Castle County Council, which he won by 2,000 votes.
*Is first elected to the United States Senate at the age of 29 in 1972.
*Just weeks after his election to the Senate, tragedy strikes the Biden family when Neilla and Naomi are killed, and Beau and Hunter are critically injured in an auto accident. Later, Joe is sworn into the U.S. Senate at his son’s hospital bedsides. He begins commuting from Wilmington to Washington every day, first by car and then by train – a practice he continued throughout his time in the Senate. (Sadly, in 2015, he would lose Beau to cancer.)
*Joe calls for the public financing of elections in the early 1970s.
*Joe married Jill Jacobs in 1977. They have a daughter together, Ashley Blazer, born in 1980.
*Chairman of the Committee on the Senate Judiciary (1987-1995)
*Chairman of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee twice (2001-03; 2007-09).
*Led a delegation of senators to meet with Kremlin officials in Moscow to present U.S. conditions for the ratification of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks – SALT 11, which began a decade’s long leadership on nuclear arms control and strategic security negotiations.
*Joe was one of the more outspoken Senators when it came to urging action and intervention against Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic in the early 1990s.
*He wrote the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which hardened federal prison sentences. Years later, he was roundly criticized for the bill for unfairly targeting people of color.
*He co-sponsored the Violence Against Women Act in 1994 with Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah.
*Joe took on the NRA, helping secure passage of the Brady background check bill in 1993, and in 1994 by championing the passage of bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
*He voted for the Iraq War in 2002.
*He ran for president for the first time in 1987 but quit the race amid allegations he plagiarized a speech by a British Labour Party leader. Later he tried again in 2008 and quit a second time after a disappointing finish in the Iowa caucus.
*Barack Obama asked Joe to be his Vic-presidential running mate in 2008. He accepted and served alongside him for two terms.
*As VP, Joe was tasked with overseeing the massive $787 billion Recovery Act, a plan designed to prevent a second Great Depression.
*In 2012, in a break with Obama, Joe came out in favor of gay marriage.
When you look back at a Senator’s career, especially one that spanned 36 years like Joe Biden’s, you can pick apart some of his votes. That’s a long time in D.C. by any stretch of the imagination. So if we look at Joe’s record over the years, it’s not perfect. And we should not expect it to be.
But more often than not, Joe was on the right side of things. The Violence Against Women’s Act and how he fought against the NRA to ban assault weapons and help pass the Brady Bill are significant pieces of legislation that gives you an idea about what was important to Joe, the politician.
As for Joe, the human being? Well, if we’re going to compare him to the current president, there can be no doubt left in anyone’s mind, except the crazy cult, of who is the most decent, honest, and caring man between the two.
Countless times we’ve seen him talking, with emotion, about dealing with the tragedies in his own life. We’ve also seen him show genuine empathy towards others when they’ve told him about similar stories in their lives. Perhaps having a president with this kind of trait isn’t essential to some voters, but I’d like to think it’s vital for most. And Joe gets an A+ in the empathy department. The current president? Can we go lower than an F? Because he’s failed at every possible turn.
Look, Joe Biden was not my first, nor was he my second choice for winning the nomination. I, too, wanted someone younger. Joe’s 77 years old, and it’s certainly a problem for a lot of people. And we’re going to have to live with his gaffes. That’s who he is, and the radical right will make fun of him for it.
But the man he’s running against isn’t exactly a poster boy for the fountain of youth either. We’ve got nearly four years of gaffes, mispronunciations, slurring of words, and other disturbing instances of a man in decline. And I ask that you look at both men side by side. See which one seems in better shape between the two. It’s not even close. Joe’s up to the task, and I’m confident in saying that. And, he’s picked a much younger VP candidate in Kamala Harris to help balance out the ticket.
But here’s what it’s all about, my friends. Joe Biden was already a heartbeat away from the presidency. He spent eight years as Barack Obama’s right-hand man. Before he accepted Obama’s request to be VP, Joe made it a point to tell him he’d do it on one condition: he wanted to be in on every critical decision that needed to be made.
As the following photo shows, Joe was there. When Bin-Laden was taken out, he was right next to his boss, as he was during the whole health care debate, immigration reform, gay marriage, and dealing with the Great Recession, among others. If he wins on November 3, Biden will be more than ready to hit the ground running on day one.
What we need now, more than ever, is competency, decency, experience, and an ability to navigate the rough waters of Washington, D.C. politics. Joe Biden possesses these attributes. And, he values something that the current president does not: a belief in science. With a pandemic still showing no sign of ebbing, we’re going to need competent sound leadership. We’re not getting that now.
As for policy, first things first. Let’s do all we can to elect Joe Biden. Then, we can push him on issues most important to all of us. We’ll go more in-depth in the coming days on what kind of policies a Joe Biden administration will pursue. For now, how about we ditch the purity tests?
So, my friends, I’m going to ask the following question: Is Joe Biden worth your vote?
Answer: Yes. 100 percent.