NASH COLUMN: Empathetic, friend-worthy Biden best choice for US

NASH COLUMN: Empathetic, friend-worthy Biden best choice for US

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In this time of division and disagreements, it’s comforting to remember there are a lot of things we agree on. One is how we find our friends and what we value in them.

We appreciate and value people who are trustworthy, honest, fair, kind and fun to be around. Nobody I know wants a friend who’s unfaithful, dishonest, unfair, greedy, cruel or vindictive. They sure don’t want to trust someone like that with their children or their money, and they wouldn’t want to spend even a couple of hours with them. That’s why it’s beyond my comprehension that Americans would choose someone like that to be the president of the United States.

I also can’t understand why voters chose someone with absolutely no experience in governing to lead a government whose executive branch is larger and more complex than the biggest corporations in the world. Imagine if the board of directors of a huge company like Ford Motor Company hired a president who had no idea how their company worked, whose resume included six bankruptcies, who founded and ran two organizations that deliberately frauded those who depended on them, and who’d been sued multiple times for not paying his workers and contractors. In the business world, that would never happen.

Yet it happened in the United States in 2016. But this year, voters are more aware. They’ve learned that electing someone who doesn’t even understand the basics of governance and whose ethics and morals are non-existent was a really bad idea. While they realize that perfection isn’t possible, they want someone who has the qualities they look for in a friend, along with the experience and knowledge needed to be the president of the most powerful and influential country on Earth.

Former Sen. and Vice President Joe Biden is that person. He’s known to be trustworthy, fair and compassionate. He has a sense of humor and the honesty to apologize when he makes a mistake. He doesn’t have delusions of grandeur and had to work for everything he has.

As a child, he was bullied because he stuttered, but overcame it after a lot of hard work and concentration. That taught him empathy for others who aren’t part of the “in crowd.” His dad fixed furnaces and sold used cars, and Joe had to work to help pay tuition to the Catholic high school he attended. He admits he wasn’t an excellent scholar in college but was accepted to law school and became an attorney before he decided to go into politics. He was elected as a United States senator from Delaware in 1973, and his constituents reelected him every six years until Barack Obama chose him to run for vice president in 2008.

During his years in Congress, he was known for his foreign-policy expertise, for making criminals responsible for their crimes and for working to make health care affordable for all Americans. He gained the respect of members of Congress from both parties. He isn’t an ideologue who feels it’s his way or the highway. He knows that effective lawmaking requires listening to the people he represents as well as those he works with. He’s shown he’s not afraid of compromise if it results in better outcomes for average workers as well as the businesses that employ them.

He knows average workers because he was one and because, when he was a senator, he rode the train to and from work every day, mingling with other commuters and listening to their concerns. He’s also seen in jeans and casual shirts because he identifies with ordinary people and not billionaires and socialites.

He understands and can empathize with those who suffer since his personal life has had its share of tragedy. His first wife and 13-month-old daughter were killed in a car accident a few days before Christmas in 1972, when a tractor-trailer crashed into their station wagon. Their two sons, Beau and Hunter, survived and were the reason Joe, who was soon to become Sen. Biden, commuted from Washington, D.C., to his home in Delaware every evening so he could see them and kiss them goodnight.

In 1977, he met and married Jill, an educator who often worked with children who had special needs. She raised the boys as her own and, in 1981, she and Joe had their daughter Ashley. But in 2015, sadness and tragedy hit Joe Biden’s life again when his son Beau died of cancer.

Joe Biden understands that life can be hard, but you’ve got to keep going. He knows how important it is to be faithful to your beliefs and to those who depend on you. If he’s elected president, I know he won’t disappoint us. That’s why I’m voting for him in November.

Pat Nash has lived in the Baraboo area, off and on, for more than 35 years. Contact her at

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