‘Choose hope over fear,’ Bi­den says. We should be­lieve him

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - NEIL STEIN­BERG nstein­berg@sun­times.com | @NeilStein­berg

‘Keep the faith, guys,” Joe Bi­den said early in the fourth and fi­nal night of the 2020 Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion on Thurs­day, talk­ing to four union work­ers in a video.

Bi­den later ac­cepted his party’s nom­i­na­tion for pres­i­dent, promis­ing, “I will draw on the best of us, not the worst. I will be an ally of the light, not the dark­ness.”

The whole night was a pow­er­ful, un­ex­pected yet ef­fec­tive blend of re­li­gion and hu­mor, of Com­mon and John Legend singing “Glory,” and Ju­lia Louis-Drey­fus host­ing and de­liv­er­ing prob­a­bly the sharpest line of the night:

“Joe Bi­den goes to church so reg­u­larly that he doesn’t even need tear gas and a bunch of fed­er­al­ized troops to help him get there.”

Bi­den is the old­est man ever to run for pres­i­dent as the nom­i­nee of a ma­jor party. If elected, at 78 he’ll be older when he en­ters the Oval Of­fice than Ron­ald Rea­gan was when he left.

One of the keys to nav­i­gat­ing age suc­cess­fully is keep­ing good friends, and across the four days of the 2020 Demo­cratic Con­ven­tion, Bi­den’s A-team of po­lit­i­cal pals came out — Michelle and Barack Obama, Bill and Hil­lary Clin­ton — pro­vid­ing all the rhetor­i­cal bunting and vir­tual bal­loons that this unique, oth­er­worldly COVID-19 po­lit­i­cal sea­son ren­dered im­pos­si­ble.

Delaware Sen. Chris Coons got Thurs­day go­ing by prais­ing Bi­den’s rev­er­ence for his Catholic faith and prayer, a theme con­tin­ued through­out the night.

“Faith is about heal­ing, not about ex­clu­sion,” added Pete But­tigieg, for­mer mayor of South Bend, one of eight who squared off against Bi­den in the pri­maries who re­turned to sup­port him.

We are an ag­ing na­tion — in the 2010s, the av­er­age age of Amer­i­cans grew by a year. But that av­er­age age is still 38, which means Joe Bi­den is twice as old, or more, as most Amer­i­cans.

Don­ald Trump, at 74, is no spring chicken ei­ther. And his spend­ing mil­lions to fo­cus on whether Bi­den is too old for the job is ex­actly the kind of bald hypocrisy that for Trump is the rule rather than the ex­cep­tion. Trump’s flaws are so baked in that no­body needs to blame age; you of­ten hear of a “blither­ing id­iot,” but rarely do you see a man blither as Trump does, daily if not hourly.

There was noth­ing fee­ble about Bi­den’s per­for­mance Thurs­day night. It was se­ri­ous, sin­cere, im­pas­sioned. And the truth is, even if age slows him down, an older good man is far prefer­able to a younger bad one.

AN­DREW HARNIK/AP

Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den and his run­ning mate, Sen. Ka­mala Har­ris, watch fire­works af­ter Bi­den’s speech Thurs­day.

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