Commentary: “Beau” Biden, Farewell to a Good American
There was a time when I swapped personal notes with “Beau” Biden. Other than that we didn’t know each other face-to-face. Five years ago he suffered what appeared to be a stroke and I wrote him and sent get-well wishes. My brother died the same year at the age of forty-six after a second round fighting cancer. To my surprise the Vice President’s son took some time and wrote me a note in return. Now the younger Biden is dead at the same age I lost my brother.
Like his father, Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., Joseph the III, known as “Beau” was a Democrat. From what I know the two personalities very much diverged after party registration. The son served in Iraq and while many criticized his service as being plush duty as a JAG officer I’ll remind you he still served in a war zone where the fire was hot. Men who were there with Captain Biden had nothing but praise for his abilities and his commitment to the cause. He served as well two terms as Attorney General in Delaware and when state legislators made efforts to eliminate the death penalty “Beau” Biden was a roadblock. An A.G.’s office can be politicized but you would’ve been challenged to find much partisanship during Biden’s tenure. One of his deputies lived directly across the street from me. The deputy was a conservative Republican and Mormon. About as far away philosophically from the liberal Catholic Biden family as you’ll get but my neighbor was hired on merit.
Through a mutual friend Biden had expressed an interest in doing a regular law segment on my radio program but it never got beyond the planning stage as my show schedule started ping-ponging in my latter years on-air in Delaware. Beyond a public service it would’ve been good for us both as Biden planned to run for Governor and it would allow me to say I gave Democrats a fair shake on-air. This angered conservative listeners who believed I should kiss the bottoms of most Republican guests and then punch Democrats who ventured into my studio. I don’t know about you but I find I like most people I meet and the party affiliation thing is secondary behind the personality and, also, the callers always did just as good as I could in hammering the Democrats who were guests on the show. I would just listen, look at the guest, and grin. It allowed them to realize it wasn’t me alone in political opposition.
I sometimes worry about the political divide and actually believe we’re careening toward civil war or a totalitarian clampdown to stifle the growing chasm. I don’t blame men like the now deceased Captain Biden. He came across as a most reasonable fellow and there is no doubt had he lived he was going to be Delaware’s next Governor. And I also believe he would’ve at least to some extent bridged the divide between right-and-left.
This is a serious matter in a country besieged by culture and economic wars. While Biden was dying I was at a parade in Idaho and a man walked up and struck up a conversation. He’s 23 and already successful in business. He listens to my new show every morning while at work. He, like yours truly, is a political convert. He started on the left as a teenager and then far more quickly than it happened for me he found himself tilting rightward. Why? He got married and had a child and his perspective on the world changed overnight. I was ten years older when I became a parent and moved rightward. We had a wonderful conversation Saturday. I plan to visit his business but he asks I never mention it by name. He’s concerned the lefties won’t come to his shop if his political conversion is discovered.
Many of us on the right are labeled haters. We supposedly hate everything and everyone who won’t conform and, yet. When I walk into a restaurant I don’t ask how the owner votes, goes to church or mosque and who they sleep with and how often. My concern is a meal I won’t soon forget.
If there is anything I take from the shortened life of a son of the Vice President it’s that the younger Biden appeared to like everybody but for the crooks he put behind bars and even then it was about justice and not spite. It used to be a common American trait.