Tuesday, October 20, 2020

My Years With Joe Biden: I Didn't Vote For Joe but I've Always Loved Him

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

We’re exactly two weeks away from the election of our lives and I’m getting nervous. I keep thinking I’ve said all I can say to convince everyone to vote for Joe Biden. Apparently I haven’t gotten through yet. Let me give it one more try.

Some of you may remember that I didn’t vote for Joe during the primaries, and wasn’t all that thrilled about him even being in the race. Then Rep. Jim Clyburn gave a speech in South Carolina and I changed my mind.

I’ve known Joe for a while now — not personally, of course, but I’ve been watching him for years. On January 20, 2009, the day Barack Obama was inaugurated as our 44th president, I started my political blog, Ramona’s Voices. Over the years I’ve mentioned Joe Biden many times, and even devoted entire posts to him, including one post I wrote in 2012 called, ‘I Love Joe Biden. I Mean It. I LOVE Joe Biden’. (In case you had any doubt.) I wrote it after Joe stood before a group of military families who had lost loved ones and talked to them about the raw pain of grieving. I was crying as I wrote it, and maybe it shows.

Before that, in March, 2011, I wrote about him in my weekly feature, Friday Follies. (Included in case there are those who still think Biden is faking his pro-union stance.):

Did I ever tell you I LOVE Joe Biden? I do. Yes, he can be slightly wacky at times but in a good way. A cute way. He’s fluffy tough and the reason the word “gaffe” was invented. But the other day he spoke to union activists and every word was a keeper. Try parsing THIS, Faux News! Ha!
“You guys built the middle class,” said Biden in a virtual town hall conversation hosted by the AFL-CIO. “I would just emphasize what Hilda [Solis] said and say it slightly different: We don’t see the value of collective bargaining, we see the absolute positive necessity of collective bargaining. Let’s get something straight: The only people who have the capacity — organizational capacity and muscle — to keep, as they say, the barbarians from the gate, is organized labor. And make no mistake about it, the guys on the other team get it. They know if they cripple labor, the gate is open, man. The gate is wide open. And we know that too.”

In ‘Women, Gays, and Obama’s Ear’, Joe got taken to the woodshed for seeming to go against Obama. They called it a ‘gaffe’, of course, but couldn’t make anything stick. I wrote, Note to Joe: It’s far better to be gaffe-prone than to be mean-prone. So far, you’re okay, man. Because I thought what he did was admirable, and Obama could do worse than learn from it.

And in September, 2015, when we were waiting to see who was going to run for president in 2016, I wrote ‘Please, Joe, Don’t Run’. I did it for his own good. I wanted him to take care of himself.

But somewhere between Hillary’s loss to Trump and the beginning of the 2020 Democratic primary season, I lost interest in Joe Biden as president. I wanted a woman in the White House, and, thankfully, there were plenty of good women to choose from. Joe was so far down my list I barely remembered he was there. I voted for Elizabeth Warren and I was devastated when she couldn’t get to that place.

 Now we’re easing into the end of October and I’m thrilled that Joe Biden is the candidate. Yes, thrilled. As Trump spirals out of control, Biden is building the greatest coalition of good guys and experts I’ve ever seen. What it tells me is that if we can pull this election off, barring all roadblocks coming from the other side, we will have a central government that can be trusted to begin the rebuilding after so much destruction. They will work as if our lives depended on it.

‘Of the people, by the people, for the people’ will no longer be quaint wishful thinking, it’ll be the way we are. It wasn’t always the way we were, but if the Trump regime’s bulldozing of our government has taught us anything, it’s that we really don’t want such drastic relief from big government. We need big government, we know that now, but we have to make it better.

Except for a few holdouts, the Democrats are coming together as a formidable bloc, getting behind Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for the top jobs and supporting and donating to the Democratic candidates down the ballot. Some of them are raising more campaign funds than they could ever even dream about. Every time Trump and his Republican cohorts do something awful in these final days, the funds roll in for the Democrats.

All signs point to a Biden win, but we Democrats are still shell-shocked over 2016. We tell ourselves we don’t dare jump the gun this time, and there’s some truth to that, but Donald Trump is a known entity now. He’s still a novice, still knows nothing about government, and it shows.

Trump has made some deadly decisions based on nothing more than how they’ll make him look. His mismanagement of the COVID pandemic has raised America’s death tolls to horrific levels not seen anywhere else in the world.

He has alienated everyone the world over, but thinks if he plays to his base everything will be all right. He doesn’t know it yet, but most of America has moved past him. As a leader he’s a disaster; as a chaos agent he thinks he’s not done yet. But the country has grown tired of his antics and Joe Biden looks like the necessary antidote. We’re watching the two of them in public and the differences couldn’t be more stark.

Joe Biden has to win but he has to win in a landslide. The Democrats have to win in a landslide. It looks imminent, but it’ll take each of us working to get out the vote. This may be our last chance to get it right.

(Cross-posted at Medium/Indelible Ink)

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