I Am Not Ashamed of Supporting Joe Biden

Biden ParaphernaliaCropped

I am not ashamed to proclaim “Joe Biden for POTUS.”

 

He wasn’t my first choice (Sanders), or my second (Warren), but only because he’s a centrist and I’m not. (Here in the U.S., centrist = Republican Lite.)

 

But I met  Biden while he was Vice President, and our brief exchange (and because I’ve read his books Promises to Keep and Promise Me, Dad) gave me the secure feeling that, although he isn’t as progressive as I am, his heart is good and his motives pure (even when he’s dog tired and cranky).

 

Even dog tired, he tells it like it is: “Then vote for somebody else!” (The unspoken rest of the story: “I don’t have time or energy enough right now to argue with you about who you should vote for. I need to move on.”)

 

I don’t have a problem when people I like get crotchety. I know it will pass and that they’re generally fine people.  That’s how I feel about Joe Biden.

 

So, I bought a Biden 2020 yard sign, a Biden 2020 baseball cap, a Biden President t-shirt and a Biden bumper sticker and I’m wearing/displaying them now.

 

I’m tired of seeing the in-your-face (literally!) Trump/Pence face masks and t-shirts and bumper stickers and remaining a silent supporter of his opponent.

 

I want people to know I don’t in any way, shape  or form support the Toddler Tyrant.

 

Why?

 

Because I’m white and almost 70, and I’m in the demographic that largely supports Trump. I never have and I never will, and I want the people I encounter to know it, so those who feel threatened by Trump’s white supremacist and misogynistic policies know they can relax around me.

 

I’m also aware that there are silent Trump supporters. They don’t feel comfortable letting people know they support his white supremacist policies and his democidal proclivities. I get it!!! If I supported him, I sure wouldn’t let too many people know about it! Good God!  I’d lose probably more than half of my acquaintances, if I did!

 

Fortunately, I don’t have that particular cross to bear, so I don’t have to be a secret supporter. I can feel good about my candidate–good enough to let people know I’ll be voting for him in November (actually, in late October, since we vote by mail here in Washington State), that’s for sure!

 

Randall Benson answered a question on Quora (“What notable things has Joe Biden done as a politician?”) in this way:

 

  • Joe Biden became a lawyer in 1969 and was elected to the New Castle County Council in 1970.
  • He was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972, when he became the sixth-youngest senator in American history.
  • Biden was re-elected six times and was the fourth most senior senator when he resigned to assume the vice presidency in 2009.
  • Biden was a long-time member and former chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.
  • He opposed the Gulf War in 1991, but advocated U.S. and NATO intervention in the Bosnian War in 1994 and 1995.
  • He voted in favor of the resolution authorizing the Iraq War in 2002, but opposed the surge of U.S. troops in 2007.
  • He has also served as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, dealing with issues related to drug policy, crime prevention, and civil liberties.
  • Biden led the efforts to pass the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act and the Violence Against Women Act.
  • He also chaired the Judiciary Committee during the contentious U.S. Supreme Court nominations of Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas.
  • In 2008, Biden was the running mate of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and became the first Roman Catholic to serve as vice president of the United States.
  • As vice president, Biden oversaw infrastructure spending aimed at counteracting the Great Recession and helped formulate U.S. policy toward Iraq through the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2011.
  • His ability to negotiate with congressional Republicans helped the Obama administration pass legislation such as the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010, which resolved a taxation deadlock; the Budget Control Act of 2011, which resolved that year’s debt ceiling crisis; and the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which addressed the impending fiscal cliff. Obama and Biden were re-elected in 2012.
  • In October 2015, after months of speculation, Biden announced he would not seek the presidency in the 2016 election. In January 2017, Obama awarded Biden the Presidential Medal of Freedom with distinction.
  • After completing his second term as vice president, Biden joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was named the Benjamin Franklin Professor of Presidential Practice.

 

But wait … there’s more!!!

 

VP Biden came out for marriage equality before President Obama did.

 

He is a fierce LGBT advocate.  (My Biden paraphernalia is LGBT- and Trans-themed because these are issues that impact me as a member of the LGBT community.)

 

He has a heart for hurting people, in part, because he has had to endure heartache: the loss of his first wife and daughter in a car accident and the loss of his son Beau to the same brain cancer that killed my mom.

 

But he was raised by loving parents who instilled in him a heart of compassion, so even if he hadn’t endured these personal tragedies,  he would still be a compassionate man.

 

I don’t believe the allegations made by Tara Reade against Joe; I think she drummed them up. Her history as a “truth teller” is lackluster at best, scandalous at worst.

 

I don’t think he’s a molester. His love language is touch, but he’s so open and transparent when he touches people in public (men, women and children) that it’s easy to see he’s not being predatory, but laudatory.

 

(DeForest Kelley occasionally ran his hands across my shoulders when standing behind me in an affectionate, laudatory manner. At no time did I interpret his actions as anything other than complimentary and familial. Most people who haven’t been molested by  Neanderthal-like male supremacists can tell the difference between affection and predatory or manipulative behavior. I sure can: I’ve encountered the difference several times in my life. #MeToo.)

 

So, I don’t even have that “albatross” to hassle my conscience. I think Joe Biden’s behavior has been well-established and even video-recorded. If he had done to me any of the things he’s seen doing to people on camera (not counting the Photoshop-edited versions put out by the opposition), I wouldn’t have deemed them inappropriate in any way.

 

He loves people. He shows it. If that’s scandalous, I’m all in. I wish more people would let others know they’re seen and “beloved”; it would be a far happier world!

 

That said, I totally understand why that kind of proximity could scare the living daylights out of people who have been sexually molested.

 

But it’s Joe’s intention I’m speaking of here; every person will respond differently depending on our history with men and women.

 

One’s reaction/response is usually easy enough to discern. I’ve hugged a few people who reacted by being stiff as boards. I never hugged them again because I understood immediately that they didn’t enjoy or appreciate my intention, which was to convey mutual platonic affection.

 

Another thing I’m looking forward to seeing is what Joe Biden will do as he steps out of the shadow of fellow “Republican-Lite” Barack Obama, in whom so many of us placed all our hopes, only to be disappointed in so many ways (other than his scandal-free decency as a human being).

 

This will be Joe Biden’s final opportunity to leave a legacy that surpasses anything he and Barack Obama have yet accomplished as a team.

 

Surpassing will require embracing some progressive policies, most notably Medicare for All (no one considered the ACA/Obamacare the best possible solution; it was just what they felt they could get at the time, given the lockstep opposition by the GOP, since it was written by the conservative Heritage Foundation and espoused by Governor Mitt Romney in Massachusetts at the time), the Green New Deal, free higher education, student loan forgiveness, re-regulating Wall Street, getting rid of Trump’s tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, etc.

 

Joe Biden will inherit a fucking mess. Clearing the decks and starting again won’t be easy. But it will be necessary if he aspires to be one of this nation’s most beloved former Presidents when his time in office comes to an end and the history of the post-Trump years is written.

 

I’m sure that’s weighing heavily on his mind right now. And for that reason, I think he’ll surprise us and do his utmost to exceed our only “fair to middling” expectations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kris Smith

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