Longtime Washington public servant Joe Biden became a rare voice of reason and truth in a chaotic presidential campaign season Thursday night as he accepted the Democratic nomination for president with a matter-of-fact speech that laid out a contest of truth versus lies, compassion versus calamity and determination over diatribes.
He comes out the four days of the Democratic National Convention as a clear front-runner over the corrupt actions of a current president whose mishandling of a nation-destroying pandemic has left a once-proud nation floundering in a search for a once-held glory.
Donald Trump, Biden declared, has used “too much anger, too much fear, too much division” to bring the once-great America to its knees. The answer, Biden declared, is to be a president who is “an ally of the light, not the darkness” while providing “character, decency and democracy.”
“They’re all on the ballot,” Biden told the nation.
Job one, Biden said, is to “get control of the virus” that threatens the American way of life.
“We will do what we should have done from the very beginning,” the Democratic nominee said. “Our current president has failed in his most basic duty to this nation. He’s failed to protect us. He failed to protect America. That is unforgivable.”
Strong words from a man who has spent most of his life in public service and who has sought the presidency for 30 years. At age 77, Biden would be the oldest person to ever be president, if elected, yet he comes out of the convention as the candidate of choice by a coalition of young and old, conservative and liberal, men and women, Black and white and other competing interests.
Frank Bruni of The New York Times called Biden’s speech “a paragon of stamina and stubborn optimism for a country that desperately needs one. In a period of great pain, he’s a crucial lesson in perseverance.”
Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post called it “the speech of Biden’s life.”
The speech was notable for how little he said about Trump. He never mentioned Trump by name and spoke of the “division” and “anger” only briefly at the onset. He later castigated the president (again without saying his name) for his selfishness. “What we know about this president is if he’s given four more years he will be what he’s been the last four years … He will wake up every day believing the job is about him, not about you.” Trump waits for a “miracle,” but “I have news for him: No miracle is coming.”
Biden offered enthusiastic compassion as an alternative to a current president who fails to show any in his pursuit of greed to serve a massive ego.
If he’s given four more years, he’ll be what he’s been the last four years, a president who takes no responsibility, refuses to lead, blames others, cozies up to dictators and fanned the flames of hate and division.
The battle ahead will be a battle for a nation’s soul and one that will be easy. Trump tried to upstage Biden Thursday with claims of “the smoldering ruins in Minneapolis, the violent anarchy of Portland, the bloodstained sidewalks of Chicago, and imagine the mayhem coming to your town and every single town in America.”
But in the town in Pennsylvania where Trump tried to stir up the populace, the campaign signs for Biden in yards outnumbered his more than two-t0-one.
Next week’s Republican convention will set the stage for a brutal dash to an election already soaked in controversy, not just because of the pandemic, a collapsed economy and a sunken morale, but also facing serious questions about Trump-driven attempts to destroy a national mail system through corrupt tampering and mounting questions about his involvement in Russian tampering in the 2016 election and mounting indictments of advisors surrounding an ethically-challenged president.
Biden’s campaign is helped by Trump’s erratic mishandling of the pandemic and his squandering of an economy her inherited and destroyed. He comes out of the convention with a vision that his opponent doesn’t have and seems incapable of providing.
If he up to the task? The soul of America depends on his ability to deliver.
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