Sunday, August 24, 2008

Barack & Joe

I got my text message at 3:11 a.m. Saturday morning announcing Barack Obama's choice of Delaware Senator Joe Biden as his Vice-Presidential running mate, and (as you may suspect) I am quite pleased with the choice. I am familiar with Joe Biden's great work all these years & I know that for a 60+ year old Irish heterosexual white Roman Catholic male, he's pretty supportive of the GLBTQI community (he's not perfect in his support of our rights, mind you, but--considering his background--like Barack, he doesn't see us as the enemy & he appears to keep an open mind, so it's a good start).

After listening to Senator Biden yesterday in his first joint appearance with hopefully the next President of the United States in Springfield, Illinois where Senator Obama began his campaign, I can see why Obama picked Biden. Joe came running up on the platform, ready & rarin' to go & he spoke passionately about how it feels to be a regular working guy (or gal) & trying to make ends meet in an economy that only a multi-millionaire could love. He spoke about how the American people can overcome any obstacle if they have a leader who will actually lead. He also took a few opening shots at Senator McCain. McCain is obviously Biden's colleague and even his friend, but he wasn't afraid to explain why McCain was a bad choice for our country, and how electing the Senator from Arizona was nothing more than stamp of approval on Bush's failed presidency, and how we can't afford 4 more years of the same old same old. He even got the chance to reference McCain's lack of knowledge on how many homes he owns. When he was speaking about what it's like, after you put the kids to bed at night, sitting at the kitchen table & wondering how to get all the bills paid, he said that McCain doesn't know what that's like because he'd have a hard time trying to figure out which of the 7 kitchen tables to even sit at!

I was impressed, too, with Joe Biden's life story. When he was first elected to the U.S. Senate, before he even took office, his family was in a horrific car accident where he lost his wife & his daughter. His two sons survived, but had to be hospitalized (his son, Beau, who is Delaware's Attorney General, is being deployed to Iraq this October, by the way). When it came time to be sworn into office, he wasn't on the floor of the Senate with his colleagues, he was in the hospital with his sons. He even considered not going on with his Senate career. Anyone in his position would have probably done the same thing, but instead of giving into the grief & the unspeakable sense of loss, he soldiered on & began the work that his family had supported him in...luckily for the rest of us.

Joe also underwent brain surgery in 1988 for two life-threatening brain aneurysms, from which it took him seven months to recuperate, and yet, here he is. After having personally endured not only the loss of his wife & daughter, but nearly his own life, Joe Biden has continued his good work in the U.S. Senate for the country he obviously loves. He had every reason in the world to just give up & go back home, but it wasn't what his father taught him. Not to diminish or minimize what Joe has had to endure, but he obviously knows that some fights are worth a few scars. In his speech yesterday, he recalled how his dad told him that it's not about getting knocked down, but about how quickly you get back up, and that seems to be the story of Joe.

Considering the background of Senator Biden's own personal life experience, the testament to his dedication to making a difference in this country in spite of his own personal tragedies, his ability to intelligently & passionately discuss the important issues of the day, his way of being able to connect with the everyday man or woman on the street & his obvious expert grasp of foreign & military affairs, it is hardly a surprise that Senator Obama would choose this man to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

I think Senator Obama's choice of Senator Biden for VP says as much about Obama as much as it does about Biden. It shows that judgment matters...even more than one's military service or lack thereof. If Senator Obama's decision to ask Senator Biden to join him on his campaign of change is any indication, I am even more convinced that Obama is the right person to lead us & that we, as a country, can do whatever we set our minds & hearts to do.

Yes We Can.

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