Open letter to democracy’s defender

Published in the Daily Hampshire Gazette May 17, 2023

Dear President Biden, 

Please excuse this overdue response to your Vice Presidential Thank You letter of February, 8, 2012. Congressman  Richie Neal gave you a copy of my new book, On History’s Front Steps, (2011) covering Northampton’s first 350 years and my family’s small part in them. Eleven years flew by. Today, you’re a first term president and I’m still writing my Daily Hampshire Gazette Opinion column. 

That a majority would vote for a twice-impeached, serial abuser, indicted predecessor boggles the mind. 

I don’t believe it. 

In the 1950s, Americans’ ignorance of history and nano attention spans were condemned by ‘Eggheads,’ i.e., people with half a brain or more. Recent election losses on the abortion issue in Arizona and the 2022 midterms are proof that pollsters can be tragically wrong. 

Otherwise, why get up in the morning? 

Being 80 is not a disclaimer. I figured it out by turning 90. Seventy percent of voters are saying that you, Joe, Biden should call it a career. I’m torn, because I’m not the boy I was at 80. Yet, daily, I stand and take nourishment. Like you, I believe what’s at stake in 2024 is, “the very soul of America.” 

The soul is our sustaining life force. Many believe it’s last to leave the body, Why can’t it be it true for the body politic? Mr. President, you and thinking voters are fated to deliver on America’s historic promise–liberty and justice for all.

At the end of your second term you’ll be four years younger than I am now! Naturally, you have to run again.

NIH studies confirm that 80-year-old American men outlive their counterparts in Sweden, France, England and Japan. I am at one with our elected president who, like Satchel Paige, believes: “Don’t look back something might be gaining on you.”

Aging affects us differently. 

The 2020 election is instructive. The smart money said you were old, too out of touch with younger voters, too all those things. Yet, critically, blessedly, not Donald Trump. You, Joe, won going away, by seven millions votes.

Your video announcement contains a plea “to finish the job.” It lists great accomplishments of two short years, showing violent scenes of the Trump inspired January 6, 2021 insurrection at our capitol. A national shame and warning to be heeded.

The vainglorious ex-president’s blatant refusal to abide by a peaceful transfer of power, required by law and custom, decided your case for America on its merits.

The Washington Post surveyed wide swaths of the country. A majority of Democrats support your second term. When drilled down to pros and cons, Joe Biden is a pair of ‘safe hands’, as our friends the British choose Prime Ministers. 

In 2020, you won 24 percent of the under-30 vote. You may walk and talk like their grandfather, but are seen to be smiles better than the extremist former guy and his po-faced wannabe, Governor DeSantis of Florida. 

(Aside: DeSantis’ last stop on recent foreign tour was in Great Britain where he spoke at Lloyds of London. He did not impress: “low wattage,” “That’s not the guy,” “statesmanship lacking,” and, “there wasn’t any stardust.” Or, in Stephen Colbert’s summation, “He even bored a meeting of insurance agents!)

You are a happy warrior, trotting to podiums, never seeking enemies, harboring the wisdom of experience in high office. 

I’ll shout in print and online that Biden’s the obvious choice in this twenty-first century election for what Joe’s not:

1. Joe’s not proposing to control women’s bodies.

2. Joe’s not for cutting Social Security and Medicare.

3. Joe’s not backing down to Russian or Chinese aggression.

In 1961, President Kennedy’s Inaugural Address opened with this pledge: “The torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans–born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage–and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.”

Your re-election letter spells out two challenging years: “We’ve already made historic investments in our nation’s infrastructure, confirmed Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black woman to the Supreme Court, passed legislation to bring down costs for families, made the single biggest investment in climate in our nation’s history, created over 12 million new jobs, and more.”

Hope and history bolster our faith in American democracy. We condemn insurrection, mass shootings, MAGA liars in every medium and trickle down tax cuts. Biden’s economy is building America from the bottom up and the middle out. 2024 will renew this American Century because, dear Joe, our bound duty is ending the threat of fascism in all of its guises.

Your Democratic friend and foe of false gods.



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