a 2nd look
MAYBE BIDEN IS THE RIGHT ONE TO TAKE ON TRUMP
“I think you mean ‘foot,' ” said a tiny voice, which was coming from somewhere I couldn't place. “People have 'feet,' Phoebe; whereas you and I have ‘paws.’ ”
It had been a couple of days since Joe Biden made national news the way he usually does, by “misspeaking.” This time, the presumptive Democratic candidate for president had declared that African Americans thinking of voting for Trump instead of him didn’t understand who they were.
Specifically, Biden put it this way during a radio program that's followed by a black audience:
“If you have problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”
So much wrong, in just a few words..
And it didn’t take Republicans long to pounce, saying Biden's blunder proved that Democrats take black voters for granted; instantly the GOP was churning out tweets and T-shirts; while the news people found themselves helplessly obligated to repeat and rehash the latest "news."
“This is what we’re in for during the next six months, cleaning up after Biden,” I complained from our backyard deck. “And this is the guy who is supposed to get rid of Trump and save democracy?”
“Who’s there?” I demanded. “I can’t even see you.”
“Why are you such a Downer Dog," the voice continued, "always assuming the worst when it comes to Joe Biden, always putting him down?”
“Because there’s so much at stake in this election,” I said. “I don’t think the country can take another four years of Donald Trump. And I’m scared to death that Biden is going to fumble his way to an election night disaster. And I'm not the only one who feels that way."
“We’re all in agreement about the need to dump Trump,” the voice said. “But look on the bright side.”
“You mean there's a bright side to how Joe Biden just insulted the Democrat’s most important constituency?
“Absolutely,” the voice said. “Look how Biden recovered, and how fast, after he made the remark on that radio program. Within hours, he was back on the phone, this time calling the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., which advocates for black businesses. Joe delivered an absolutely genuine, from-the-heart, common sense apology – the kind that makes him so appealing to so many people.”
“What did he say? I asked, forgetting that I was talking to something in bush.
" ‘I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy. I shouldn’t have been so cavalier,’ that’s how he explained it,” the voice said.
“What's so great about that?” I asked.
“Because it was exactly the right thing to say,” the voice said. “Biden’s no racist. Joe knows that. Most Americans know that. Most African Americans know it. So, Joe didn’t have to pretend that what he’d said was anything more that what the rest of us do too often, say something stupid. As Joe said, it was just a wisecrack gone wrong, nothing more.”
“WHO ARE YOU, anyway?” I demanded.
“Biden is the perfect Every Man,” the voice continued, “and that makes him just the right candidate to take on Donald Trump, who is the very definition of a phony, insincere, inept and overall horrible person.”
“But Biden…,” I said, before being interrupted again.
“But nothing,” said the voice, sternly. “Donald Trump is a racist. That’s his history. Making phony ‘birther’ claims that Barack Obama wasn’t born an American, stirring up racial hatred, attacking black football players, insulting black Congresswomen.”
“Now, you’re playing the Republican’s game, ‘What-About-Ism,’ “ I said. “It’s one of Trump's worst tricks. First, he does something horrible; then he defends himself by saying: What about Hillary? What about Hunter? What about Barack?”
“Hey, Man,” the tiny voice said, “This is what this election is about: Trump is a terrible man; Biden is a terrific person. Maybe Joe wasn’t and never will be your first choice. But he’s won the primaries, and Joe is absolutely everything Trump is not: kind, experienced, inclusive, capable. This election is simple: get rid of Terrible and replace him with Terrific.”
“But before we go any farther, who ARE you,” I asked again.
“The ex-Veep was great. When he first appeared via remote camera, he was wearing a facemask to prevent the spread of Covid-19 to Secret Service people and others around him. Contrast that with Trump, who's treating the whole mask thing as a joke. Just like when Trump toured the Ford factory in Michigan, he said he had a mask and had even worn it, but not in public. Why? Because he didn’t want the give the press the ‘pleasure’ of seeing him wear one. Very grown up."
"Contrast that with Joe. He's very good at this kind of symbolism, leading by example. You've been underestimating Joe Biden, lots of people have," the voice continued. "It's not only counterproductive, it's just plain wrong."
“And, for people who think Joe is too old, too over the hill, there’s a new Wired magazine ‘interview’ running on YouTube. Biden is at home, wearing a blue blazer, aviator sunglasses, open-collar striped shirt; behind him is a window, through which you can see spring in full bloom.
"The approach Wired takes is to have Biden answer questions that are often asked about him on Google; they're printed on poster boards, but hidden by peel-off labels. Holding the boards with one hand, Joe tears away each label with his left, so he can see the question and then answer it – which he does in that neighbor-next-door way of his, with gusto and good humor.”
QUESTION: Is Joe Biden a Democrat or Republican?
ANSWER: What a silly question, Man. What else would you be but a Democrat?
Q: Is Joe Biden a billionaire?
A: Unfortunately, I am not.
Q: Is Joe Biden left handed?
A: No. That’s why I’m having trouble pulling these (labels) off with my left hand.
Q: Is Joe Biden a vegan?
A: No, Joe Biden is not a vegan, although my wife is pushing me.
Q: Did Joe Biden ever have a job?
A: Yeah, I’ve had a job. I used to be a lifeguard for years , and when I ran for the United States Senate, they said: Well, why do you want a 29-year-old who’s only been a life guard? Well, the truth was I was a practicing lawyer. I’d been a public defender and I had my own small law firm….
"WHO ARE YOU?" I persisted.
“You can call me ‘Mr. O,’ ” the voice said. And suddenly, I spotted him.
Partially hidden by an evergreen, he was perched atop the fence that’s behind the flowering azaleas. I’d never seen anything like him. He had a totally cute face – mostly white, with a tiny pink nose, polka dot eyes and black Teddy-bear ears.
“That’s a very insulting question, Ms. Downer. Very objectifying, very dismissive,” the voice scolded. “It’s like you're saying that I'm just a thing, instead of a living, breathing sentient being like you.”
“I’m sorry,” I said. “Folks are always coming up to me and asking what ‘kind’ of dog I am. The answer they're looking for is that I'm part Labrador retriever and part Husky – which actually is meaningless and doesn't tell anyone anything about me.”
“Technically, I’m an opossum," Mr. O said, "a marsupial, like kangaroos – just nicer. But I’d prefer to be thought of as a political scientist, just without a PhD. The best way to think about me is as a student of politics.”
“You certainly seem to see Joe Biden, if not through the proverbial rose-colored glasses, through the glow of hot-pink azaleas,” I said.
“You know the old saying,” Mr. O replied: Want Some Optimism? Call An Oposs’m.”
“Actually, I've never heard that one,” I said. “But I’m glad to meet you. Your attitude is really positive, hopeful, encouraging. And we sure can use a lot of cheering up around here.”
“I’m not going anywhere,” Mr. O said. “But Joe Biden is.”