Bi­den comes full cir­cle while open­ing the book on a new Amer­i­can chap­ter

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - MARY MITCHELL mmitchell@sun­times.com | @MaryMitche­l­lCST

You can’t talk about Joe Bi­den with­out talk­ing about di­vine prov­i­dence be­cause he is a man of faith.

I know.

In this space, we don’t usu­ally talk about faith. But at a time when ba­bies are be­ing shot, elderly peo­ple are dy­ing alone and healthy peo­ple can’t go to work, a lit­tle faith is what’s needed.

For in­stance, when Barack Obama picked Bi­den as his run­ning mate in 2008, I was one of those who was shocked that he passed up a chance to dou­ble down on his­tory by choos­ing Hil­lary Clin­ton, a con­so­la­tion for her failed at­tempt to be­come the first woman pres­i­dent.

Bi­den wasn’t what many of us ex­pected. Af­ter all, Wilm­ing­ton, Delaware, isn’t a place a lot of work­ing-class Black peo­ple have been, and Bi­den, a vet­eran in Wash­ing­ton pol­i­tics, was a long way from the work­ing-class neigh­bor­hoods that Obama needed to win over in or­der to make his­tory.

But Bi­den’s life story — from the per­sonal losses he has en­dured to the short­com­ings he has over­come — is as com­pelling as any you will hear from peo­ple liv­ing on the West or South sides of Chicago.

It would have been great if Amer­ica had been at the point where the party didn’t have to put a white man on the ticket with Obama to bring out white vot­ers.

But we weren’t there.

And while Bi­den had been outed for in­sen­si­tive racial re­marks he made dur­ing the pri­mary, say­ing Obama was the first “main­stream African Amer­i­can who is ar­tic­u­late and bright ... ,” run­ning for the pres­i­dency, he was able to bring out enough white vot­ers in bat­tle­ground states to help Obama over the racial hump.

On the night when Obama won the pres­i­dency, it could have been that “great get­tin’ up mornin.”

Bi­den used the mo­ment Thurs­day night to thank for­mer Pres­i­dent Obama, call­ing him a great pres­i­dent.

When Bi­den tapped Sen. Ka­mala Har­ris as his run­ning mate, his life came full cir­cle.

In­deed, Har­ris’ ac­cu­sa­tion in the pri­mary that Bi­den had once helped seg­re­ga­tion­ists could have been a knock-out punch.

But that awk­ward mo­ment for Bi­den turned into Har­ris’ march into his­tory. Har­ris is now in a po­si­tion to run for pres­i­dent with some wind un­der her wings.

Bi­den has a habit of putting his foot in his mouth, and Novem­ber will be here soon. I hope he doesn’t get in the way.

As my church sis­ters would say: “Look at God.”

ALEX WONG/GETTY IM­AGES

Peo­ple gather to lis­ten to Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Joe Bi­den on Thurs­day at a park­ing lot out­side Chase Cen­ter in Wilm­ing­ton, Delaware.

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