Joe Biden’s Empathy Can Make Him A Great President by Robert Covington Jr.
One of the main reasons why Joe Biden became President of the United States is the fact that he is a white man of integrity, decency, but most importantly because he ran an empathy centered campaign that felt refreshing as America just endured four years of evil, cruelty and sadism under the Trump regime. Although many people focused on the unity message, I believe it was secondary to his appeals of empathy and compassion that propelled him to the highest office in the land.
Now, Joe Biden has an opportunity to go down as one of the greatest presidents in American history if he lets his empathy to continue to shape and guide his presidency. One of the most illuminating expressions of Joe Biden’s natural connection with empathy since he has become president was the CNN town hall that he did with Anderson Cooper. Just watch how polite, responsive, and situated he tried to be with the questioner.
The other thing that stuck out from that interview was the end when Joe Biden talked about the biggest difference between being president and vice president. Biden said for him is knowing once all his aides and support network leaves him with all their advice, it is being alone in a room processing it all and making the final decisions that will impact America and the world.
Well Joe, you and the Democrats are off to a great start with the soon to be law of the land, 1.9 trillion-dollar economic rescue package. From the beginning, President Biden spoke consistently about the contents of this legislation being fundamentally rooted in an empathic understanding of the human condition. The focus on immediate economic assistance in the form of direct cash, helping states and local governments maintain important elements of public infrastructure, sustaining government services and maintaining public employees on the payroll will stop the hemorrhaging that so many have endured during the deadly coronavirus pandemic. And it cannot be overstated as to how impactful the focus on unemployment support, food assistance, health insurance supports, vaccine and school funding and child tax credits will have on addressing basic needs, hunger, and child poverty for millions of Americans.
Beyond the rescue package that will go into law later this week, President Biden has an ambitious and well-intentioned agenda that will touch every aspect of our lives in areas such the environment, structural reforms to democracy, criminal justice, economic opportunity, addressing discrimination, inequality, ethics reform, immigration, infrastructure, and international relations. If President Biden sets the tone for Democrats and the nation by relentlessly talking about the lives, families and communities that are behind the policy and proposed legislation, it will center the American people instead of it being centered on the politician. Doing it this way will help cut through race, class, and individualistic tendencies that cloud our sense of doing what is right and seeing our collective humanity.
Lastly, for President Biden’s empathic presidency to really achieve the goals that he’s laid out, Biden will have to speak bluntly and honestly about the Republican Party being the antithesis of empathy. If Biden chooses to not to clarify for the public that the Republican Party’s opposition is rooted in narcissism, human disregard and callousness in their thinking and outcomes, he will leave the impression with the American people that disagreements with the Republican Party is driven by nuance, not a fundamental difference in valuing and prioritizing the well being of all Americans.
It is likely that this will be the hardest thing for President Biden to do. He has spent most of his adult life in federal government. However, Biden has seen the Republican Party support treason, insurrection, sedition, racism, white supremacy, racist voter suppression, pervasive anti-democratic practices, support authoritarian leaders, and attack healthcare of millions of Americans — all done without a hint of remorse. But he must do it if he wants to be successful because the Republican Party sees empathy as a weakness, not a strength.
President Joe Biden’s greatest asset is his empathy and if he combines it with purpose, determination, and context in his advocacy for making America a better place, he will secure his place as one of the greatest presidents in American history. I think that is a legacy worth fighting for.
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