From the Editor-inChief & Publisher
AT 78, JOSEPH ROBINETTE Biden Jr., elected the 46th president of the United States, is the oldest man to ever hold that office. He defeated Donald J. Trump who, at 74, had held that record and leaves his disastrous one-term presidency in disgrace, proving the old adage, “There’s no fool like an old fool.”
But the behaviour that led to Trump’s shocking but not entirely surprising selfimmolation is more typical of another, much younger demographic. Trump’s remarkable make-believe world, lack of impulse control and refusal to take responsibility for any of his decisions that had negative consequences allows one to see his tenure in the Oval Office as that of a toddler with power. Similarly, one could view Trump’s enablers on staff and in the Republican party brass as parents cowed into submission by the dangerously incorrigible child they allowed to run rampant. And like the spoiled brat who smashes the chessboard rather than admit that he has lost the match, Trump has left Biden to pick up and put back together the pieces of a weakened superpower.
Trump’s America First geopolitical policy has hastened the end of the American Century and, in the twilight of his years, Biden has the task to unite and restore a nation riven with internal issues – not least of all America’s losing fight with COVID-19 and a significant segment of a population that has rejected his victory as “fake news.”
Many have questioned Biden’s ability, given his age, to meet the physical and cognitive demands of the office. But not only is he old enough to do it, he also has the personal attributes and habits – faith, purpose and physical fitness – that we know lead to positive aging. And he also models the most desirable traits associated with age: experience, resilience and wisdom.
While Trump exudes a malignant charisma with the swagger of a celebrity mob boss, Biden is all about everyday, everyman decency – a jovial “Uncle Joe” persona with a can-do vibe. He has been tempered by tragedy – he lost his first wife and first-born daughter in a car crash and then his eldest son and political heir, Beau, to a malignant brain tumour. It’s perhaps because of this, he wears his empathy on his sleeve – a salve for a nation in need of healing.
He has been humbled by failure, proving that it is never too late. His second failed presidential run in 2008 resulted in him becoming Barack Obama’s vicepresident and signalled another key attribute of successful aging: the ability to change. Biden gave up his comfortable position as a senior senator with a powerful perch, and he took the plunge to work for a boss 27 years his junior. What a bromance that became.
Biden was crucial to a historic pivot as his presence on the Obama ticket delivered a necessary voting bloc to usher in the first African-American president of a country scourged by slavery. Biden has made history again by choosing Kamala Harris as his vice-president, giving women, African-Americans and South Asians their first representation in that role in one fell swoop. A man of the past who has a vision of how to respond to the future, precisely because of that past, is certainly the man for the moment. God speed