There are a couple Joe Bidens.
One Joe Biden walks around on MSNBC and CNN and the New York Times and even National Public Radio. He's a decent guy. Presidential, if a little forgetful. This one was very cute in all of those White House memes with Barack.
This Joe Biden was progressive, a stalwart Democrat that complemented Obama. He glows with the feel of the first Black president who lit up the White House with rainbow lights to celebrate the era of legal gay marriage.
This Joe Biden is from Scranton, which sounds like scrappy, which sounds very working class. Very red, very blue, very white. He has a son who died of cancer which is very sad, very relatable.
There is another Joe Biden.
This one is rarely allowed on those media sources.
This Joe Biden represented Delaware his whole senate career. Delaware is a corporate tax haven and therefore the headquarters of 60% of all Fortune 500 companies. This Joe Biden has done a ruthless job representing the interests of his corporate constituents, including making sure people defaulting on student debt (unlike those who operate Fortune 500 companies) cannot easily declare bankruptcy.
This Joe Biden fondles women in a way that demeans them and makes them second guess themselves. He weirdly sexualizes kids in public by talking to young girls only about their appearance and future dating dynamics.
This Joe Biden was credibly accused of rape by a former staffer and that hasn't really been investigated but it would be good to investigate because this Joe Biden lies a lot. Like, a lot. In fact this Joe Biden was forced to leave the 1988 presidential primary because he lied so often and about so many different things.
This Joe Biden gets angry on a hair trigger, publicly insults and dismisses constituents who don't agree with him, uses profanity with potential voters, and displays a Brett Kavanaugh rage response when confronted with his own lies. This Joe Biden is an old white Democrat whose privilege allows him to lie, have tantrums, insult people, serve corporate interests, and hurt women without political consequence. In fact, this Joe Biden failed to organize much of a campaign and lost three out of the first four primaries by wide margins before being endorsed by every prominent member of the liberal political establishment.
Oh yeah, and this Joe Biden has a son who cashed in on the name to run shady deals that everyone knows about.
So when you ask people to vote for Joe Biden, beware that the Joe Biden you know may not be the Joe Biden they know. Neither of us is necessarily wrong per se, but we're not talking about the same man.
In case you're clutching your pearls so hard right now that you're risking the integrity of your spinal column, rest assured that if I lived in a swing state I'd vote for both Joe Bidens.
That's not a statement about Joe Biden, but rather one about Donald Trump. And lord knows there are enough Donald Trumps in this country for one of them to get a second term, which is a whole other essay.
I'd vote for Joe Biden because our general election votes in 2020 aren't about personal expression, they are about cold political prioritization. Read that a few more times slowly if you need to. Our votes for president are not about who we are as individuals but about what consequences our collective activity will bring. Voting is also about 1/10,000th of the time I spend working on politics. The other 9,999 political things I do this year will involve slaying the political prospects of duplicitous corporate bullies, Democrat and Republican.
My message to you is that I can vote for Joe Biden without playing a big game with the corporate Democrats in which I pretend he is "presidential" or "electable." He's neither. But I can vote and speak the truth at once. It's my right and it's my obligation.
When I read 1984 in 7th grade, I recall that Orwell warned us about the end game when we start saying pretend things together that don't match up with what we can see ourselves. “The party," he wrote, "told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”
I'd like to think they had all of us 12 year olds read Orwell (an outspoken Democratic Socialist by the way) because they wanted us to preserve our democracy with our words and actions. So let's do that. In word, and in deed.