Joe Biden comes across as such a nice guy that it’s easy to discount how smart, capable, and hard-driving he is. Despite being blatantly imperfect and visibly elderly, he embodies several qualities–such as pragmatism, civility, and a deep familiarity with the nuts and bolts of governmental processes–that the US desperately needs in the presidency.
Biden isn’t trying to be overly charismatic. He isn’t promising to fix everything that’s wrong with our culture and political system. He isn’t trying to have the most earth-shattering agenda. He is, however, someone who thoroughly understands the issues the nation faces, and he approaches them in a sophisticated and thoughtful way. He knows the backstories and the players. Moreover, Biden abides by a tradition of statesmanship that has drawn men and women to dedicate themselves to national service in hopes of earning broad public gratitude, favor, and esteem.
Presidents are uniquely dependent on the American people for their position and prestige, a dependence that every president except Donald Trump has recognized by treating American citizens with honor, reverence, and consideration.
Trump is alone among American presidents in denigrating the people. Far from having an affectionate relationship with Americans, he has insulted, defamed, and even threatened violence against them and their state governments. This is so subversive of American norms and Constitutional order that most Americans are dumbfounded. Nothing will be left of this government “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” if the people let the incumbent president usurp their power.
Climate change, health care, women’s rights, black equality: these are all important issues, but acting on them is mainly Congress’s job. This presidential election is about something far simpler and more urgently necessary. It’s about having a president who respects the people as the source of his power. Biden will be a fine and honorable president: one who respects all the people, serves them, and makes them proud.
Image: Biden discussing a chemical weapons treaty
during a 1997 meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
as his Republican colleague Jesse Helms looks on,
from this source.