In the past few days, we have seen a contrast in styles. We watched a sitting president threaten the mayors and governors of our states with a military invasion, like Syria. We saw a former Vice President and candidate for President, Joe Biden sit down with people and talk to them — but more importantly, listen to them.
We saw a government official order the use of rubber bullets and tear gas against peaceful protestors on park property in front of a historic church simply for a distasteful photo op. In contrast, former Vice President Biden called for calm and unity, in a presidential manner, and announced plans to attend the funeral of Mr. Floyd.
We watched a president tweet about hiding in a bunker under the White House, and then gas people to make himself look strong. While former Vice President Biden has gone out among the people and listened to their concerns, in a quiet gentle manner, consulting with them, assuring them. He followed this up with an address in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, that requested unity and empathy.
I spent my career at CIA, I watched a number of tin-pot dictators come and go, and as we approach the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre on June 4th, I think about the military onslaught that left hundreds if not thousands of civilians dead. I also think of the sitting president’s threat to unleash the military across the country. Have we descended to the same depths of depravity as communist China in three and a half years? The answer seems to be yes. Do we have a chance to turn this around before it is too late? I hope so, but it is going to take leadership, something that is sorely lacking in Washington these days. This administration does not seem to understand that tweeting does not replace discussions, and appearing strong does not mean attacking Americans, but going out and listening to them.
The leader that I am seeing daily is going to the black communities and listening to members of those communities. The leader I see is calling for unity, not actively creating an “us versus them” society. The leader I am seeing is calling for calm, pointing out the need for leadership in the vacuum that we have now. That leader is former Vice President Joe Biden. Let us make him the true leader of the United States on November 3rd.