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Stan’s Stuff

Joe – Don’t fall over again. Step down!

All of the people with whom I have talked about Joe Biden, say the same thing. “Step down. He should step down” They add, “Surely there must be someone else.” The fact is Joe is an embarrassment.
 |  Stan Stewart  | 

Understandable! His blank spots in the debate with Donald Trump are just the latest of his many missteps. We’ve seen him fall down the steps of Airforce One; fall off his bike; fall after inspecting a parade of military cadets, fumble, and mumble at press conferences. His problems with ageing cannot be hidden. However, as I write, he is still the President and he says only God can tell him to step down.

His life journey has had many traumas. Shortly after being elected to the Senate in 1972, his wife, Neilia, and thirteen-month-old daughter, Naomi, were killed in a car accident. His two small sons, Beau and Hunter, both suffered major breakages that required a long period of hospitalization. At first, he thought of resigning from political office, but finally decided to take up the work of Senator. He was sworn in as Senator in his son’s hospital room. Throughout his lengthy Senate career, Biden commuted daily from Wilmington to the U.S. Capitol to kiss the boys good morning and goodnight.

Biden later married Jill Biden in 1977, who became First Lady when he assumed the presidency in 2021. The couple have a daughter, Ashley. In 2015, Biden’s son Beau Biden, a rising political figure himself, died from a brain tumour at the age of 46. His second son, Hunter, became embroiled in schemes outside the law and in drug taking which led to other offenses. At this moment it seems likely that Hunter will go to prison.

Phew! This man has drunk deeply from the bitter cup of suffering. He says his survival has been possible “because I had the incredible good fortune of an extended family, grounded in love and loyalty, imbued with a sense of obligation imparted to each of us.”

I’ve worked out who Donald Trump is. In movie parlance, he’s Dirty Harry; or in the mind of the a huge swathe of religious in the US, he’s the ‘Wounded Healer’. The crux of both these stereotypes is similar. A person with a blemished reputation (based on fact or just rumour) is thrust (pushed) into a terrible community situation and saves the day. This is the theme of many westerns and thrillers. We’ve cheered these movies for years. And now, in real life, there’s Donald Trump.

At this moment, a different large part of the US populace doesn’t buy the ‘Donald will save us’ scenario. However, many of these are also embarrassed by Joe. They would like to replace him. What would a replacement of Joe look like. Here’s my guess at an acceptable profile. Male, early 50’s, handsome, physically fit, with a beautiful wife (preferably first and only marriage) very presentable children and an adorable dog. To win the South, it would be helpful if he was a Sunday School teacher. He is articulate, witty and prepared to go toe to toe with Putin and Xi Jinping. The person would need to have a spotless reputation with no hint of marital lapses or business funny business. Hmm! Could be tricky!

I’m writing this from Whitianga, a town where 80-year-olds come to retire and play (let’s not mention ‘die’). What Joe is trying to do goes against the grain of what the Coromandel is about. We know what 80-year-olds should be doing. These are the golden years. Relax, enjoy the view. These are the gourmet years.  In summer, there’s the ocean; in winter there’s the warm fire. Imagine if Joe retired! He wouldn’t have a house with a view, he would have an estate that would be the view. He could travel the world first class, with the best food, the most comfort and always with the serenity that comes from being accompanied 24 hours by FBI security – discreetly of course.

I’m older than Joe. The thought of having 24-hour scrutiny as Joe does, sends shivers down my spine. Only my wife knows my missteps and fumbles. When my relatives and friends heard I was thinking of writing a piece on Joe, they discouraged me. “Both candidates have too many problems. You can’t say anything new or amusing about that duo.” I guess they are right, but really felt I should try.

I’ve always been interested in political leaders. Here’s a quote, I think it’s from the towering British Prime minister, Lloyd George. A reporter asked him how it was that even in conflict he always projected the image of a statesman.

Lloyd George replied. “The secret to being always calm and dignified is to go to the toilet at every possible occasion.”

Will Joe stay in the race, or walk away?