I have always had a soft spot for Vice President Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. My last living grandparent died 15 years ago, and since my early 20s, I have maintained a fantasy league roster. The other three slots tend to rotate, according to the trends of the cultural zeitgeist and my own proclivity for falling in love with every cool older person I meet, but Biden’s place on my wish list is permanent.
I don’t know when exactly I grew so smitten with Biden but I know it stems from a combination of the man’s complete lack of filter (a refreshing treat in the cautious, talking point-obsessed Capitol), the silver hair and winning grin that just dare you to dislike him or Biden’s utterly human, relatable biography. All I know is that if I had to hear some bad news, I’d want it from the empathetic, plainspoken and good-natured mouth of Joe Biden. Although I yearned to see Hillary Clinton take her place in the Executive Branch back in 2008, it’s tough to argue with President Obama’s ultimate VP selection: a white male, longtime Senator with charm and foreign policy experience in spades.
As a hyper-partisan, gridlocked, do-nothing Congress continues to bungle every issue important to the American people (the budget, gun control, job creation, etc.), an obstinately flexible and human Joe Biden continues to set the mercenary, disingenuous game playing of the House and Senate in stark relief. Let’s take last month’s shameful defeat of a measure that 90 percent of Americans were united in supporting: on April 18, the U.S. Senate voted against a compromise plan to expand background checks on firearms sales as well as a proposal to ban some semi-automatic weapons. This, my friends, ought to have been the proverbial fish in the barrel. Anyone with eyes and ears can see that gun violence, particularly mass public executions, are out of control, and thus 9 out of 10 voters agreed that something must be done.
Tell that to the Senators, which regrettably included four Democrats, who were so afraid of the gun lobby, particularly the NRA, that they utterly failed to abide by the will of their constituents.
And even those who supported the reforms, such as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, did so cautiously, careful at every step to reaffirm their commitment to Second Amendment rights. That these freedoms that seem to increasingly trump the rights of the rest of us to live safely, appears to be of less concern to this group. After all, there are mid-term elections to consider.
But there’s one man who has his eye on a run for the biggest political prize of all in 2016, yet somehow remains immune to the rampant bullshit that swirls when the issue of guns is broached. And that man is the Grandfather-in-Chief, Joe Biden. The Associated Press published a small piece yesterday with the title, “Wisconsin boy gets handwritten response from Biden,” that manges to bury the lead. Of course it’s awesome anytime a world leader takes a break from a crushing schedule to correspond with a voter of the future. But in this case, the content of the note is as worthy as the man who took a few moments to write it.
A seven year-old second grader from Milwaukee came up with an utterly adorable, dreamlike solution to the problem of gun violence: make bullets out of chocolate. In the offices of another lawmaker, this missive would have been given a cursory smile from a junior staffer, if it were noticed at all. But Biden went another route, giving a young boy a treasured memento and presenting fellow lawmakers with a teaching moment. As the AP reports, “In the note, [of response] the vice president says he agrees that chocolate bullets would make the country safer and happier. The note concludes: ‘People love chocolate. You are a good boy, Joe Biden.’”
See what he did there? Who’s the child in this scenario? Is the young man who wishes for a violence-free world in which the risk of diabetes via chocolate gluttony is our biggest enemy, or is it the collective body of elected adults who mistake a disproportionate focus on one entry in the Bill of Rights for leadership?
Making a child smile while commenting on the lack of “good” intentions currently swirling around the Capitol: what could be sweeter? Way to go Joe.