Joe Biden, Being There

Funny story written by G. Brookings

Friday, 4 September 2020

image for Joe Biden, Being There
...You Know the Thing...

A great deal of ink has been spilled with arguments pro and con in the battle between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. But for all the heated complaints and invective, the contest will evidently be decided not on grounds of platforms and positions, but on the personal characteristics of the two men. Here are the ten most important reasons to believe that Joe Biden will win:

1. Women will vote for Joe Biden because Joe likes women. He likes the way their hair smells. He likes touching them, even total strangers, and whispers softly in their ears at public gatherings. He does not grab them by their private parts like his opponent. If suburban women are forced to choose among two aging molesters, Joe is clearly the better choice.

2. Joe Biden is a healer and a uniter; he tells us at every opportunity that he wants to heal and unite us. No one is sure what he has in mind when he says this, but the words themselves give off a vaguely positive message. And this message appeals broadly. Even people who are not hurt or divided will not refuse to be further healed and united. For those in the flyover states, who proudly cling to their divisive ways and do not know that they are damaged, Joe hopes his message of healing and uniting will make them think and cast off, as he has done, things they once believed but that have now become inconvenient and even dangerous, like expressing support for another candidate.

3. Like Chauncey Gardner of the “Being There”, Joe is able to project a serenity and earnestness that is at once mysterious and attractively shallow. The people need to think that their leaders are better than they are, but not too much better. Too much earnestness reeks of the ideologue, or of a person who actually knows what he is talking about, and is therefore a negative quality in a leader, who is better off knowing nothing and counting on the many well-informed experts around him to fill in the blanks, since what is known to be a fact or true changes by the minute. Who can keep up? Trump provides the contrasting example, of a leader who thinks he knows something about everything, and openly disdains the experts. What a disaster!

4. But unlike Chauncey Gardner, who was always serene, Joe Biden has another side, which we see when he is faced with a person who means to expose Joe’s serenity as an effect of the mainly empty space between his ears. Conservative journalists, in particular, bring out this feisty side of Joe, the roguishly lovable senior pugilist, tossing off a back-alley taunt or an insult (e.g.,” you’re a lying dog-face pony soldier”), or even more impressively, threatening to take an opponent to the woodshed. It is a nearly priceless skill to be able to show two such different faces to the public and not look like a phony.

5. Joe Biden is the only honest man in the race, and may be the most honest man in politics today, if we mean, by 'honesty', sincerely believing everything one says at the moment one says it, whether it is true or not. Trump lies, of course, but he knows he lies. Joe’s ability to forget what he pronounced on any given point of policy only a week or even an hour ago, allows him to move smoothly from one reality to another, telling his audience exactly what it needs to hear, all with the appearance of truth and passion. “C’mon man,” he often says, meaning that the person opposing him knows that they are in the wrong. They should be more honest, like Joe.

6. It helps that Joe Biden does not always know where he is or who he is speaking to. Even with a teleprompter before him, scrolling his intended message, he can be transported at any moment from a specific podium into a special time and place inhabited only by Joe Biden and by the disembodied ears of unspecific people and places. In this space, there is healing and there is warmth and there is Joe’s vision of himself as a kindly and necessary father figure who wishes his children well, as long as they do not interrupt or contradict him. For that kind of discord pierces the happy mood, and occasionally leaves his diaper soggier than it should be when he wakes up abruptly in the wrong town.

7. Joe is a kind man, and always means well, even for his opponent, whom he will defeat and destroy, but only out of necessity. This makes him better than his opponent, who is evil and enjoys humiliating Joe Biden, calling him Sleepy Joe or Slow Joe. As a future victor, Joe can afford to feel magnanimous. But, if the polls start delivering more ambiguous news, Joe has promised his handlers that he will give Trump a knuckle sandwich behind the schoolhouse and kick the beejeezus out of him. Those in the inner Biden sanctum have even heard this combative Joe practicing before a mirror, calling Trump a stingbum, and a milksop; an orange gollumpus and a greedy guts. These are all fighting words from the last century. But they prove to the big donors that, while magnanimous and outwardly dignified, Joe is no chicken-hearted, lily-livered gasser.

8. A big plus in the minds of the average suburban mom is Joe’s light and pleasant aroma of Catholicism. Like the Pope himself, Biden does not reek of the kind of old-time religion that describes things people want as sinful and forbidden. Joe and the Democrats are not about judging or forbidding. For example, Joe is politically pro-choice and personally pro-life. This is not a ruse to have it both ways, or any kind of contradiction. It is a necessary policy fog-bank that avoids the need to judge and forbid. This “religion-lite” is making inroads among the soup-and-half-sandwich suburban woman demographic, but does not alarm the Marxists. A win-win for Joe.

9. The second most compelling argument for Joe Biden is that he has very few deeply held positions on almost any of the boring policy issues that over-excite people who get into politics. Or, if he has such deeply held beliefs, he has thankfully forgotten which side of them he is on. His positions evolve and evolution is good. Evolution is a concept from settled science. And science is good. This is how small small “d” democracy works; with leaders who know how to lead from behind. Joe has bravely promised to follow the polls -- the expressed will of a scientific sample of the people who count -- wherever they lead. Joe believes in science, because science is true.

10. Of course, the most persuasive argument for electing Joe Biden is that he is not Donald Trump. While many other people could say the same thing, and, as such, this is not an argument for Joe Biden specifically, and may even argue that Joe himself is not an especially critical factor in the outcome of the election, it is for all that at least one incontrovertible truth everyone can agree on. Joe Biden and Donald Trump are two different people. And if this truth by itself does not make Joe a man to admire, it also absolves him at the same time of any flaws or errors. If Joe Biden is merely an avatar for “anyone but Trump” his particular failings hardly matter. We can therefore thankfully forget his slightly distasteful story of his days at the pool where he would let children play with the golden hair on his legs; and we can ignore the unlikely account of his heroic confrontation with the fictional bully Corn Pop; and his tale of being arrested in Johannesburg with Nelson Mandela, who he never actually met. And we can forget his occasional airy daffiness; even his inability to read English words from a teleprompter. All of that is much ado about nothing for the not-Trump, who needs no other essential quality than this absence, this vacuum of Trumpiness or Trumphood, and a willingness to be almost anything else.

The funny story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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