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In a Powerful Speech, Joe Biden Made His Case

Former vice-president and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden accepts the Democratic Party nomination for US president during the last day of the Democratic National Convention, being held virtually amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware on August 20, 2020. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

Since Joe Biden’s nomination became inevitable in March, many of us have felt that our vote in November would be against Donald Trump, not really for Biden. I’ve often said that I would vote for my dog or my toddler over Trump because the bar is simply that low. But the four nights of Democratic National Convention, and especially last night’s acceptance speech by the nominee, made the compelling case for why we should want to vote for Joe Biden, not just against Trump.

After last night, I am one hundred percent ready to vote for the candidate that cares about America and her people. Simple as that.

The lead up to Biden’s speech highlighted Joe Biden as a person, something that I think has been lost over the course of the campaign. It refocused the narrative on Joe Biden not just as someone who has fought for important causes and led effectively his whole life, but as someone who had been shaped by tragedy and because of that, truly cares about people.

And right now, that matters. “Caring about the lives of other human beings” should absolutely not be the bar for a Presidential candidate. It should be a given that the person who runs the country cares if Americans die and suffer … but here we are. Joe Biden presented himself as a person that cares, and the testaments of his supporters, but perhaps more tellingly, even his former rivals hammered that home.

The stories of Joe Biden’s kindness and empathy echoed through every night, and that was the man that showed up to deliver his acceptance speech. It was an impassioned and empathetic speech that was so firey and focused it put to rest every single “sleepy Joe” joke Donald Trump has lobbed his direction.

At times he spoke with anger and passion, and it was real because there is so much damage Donald Trump has done to this country to be truly angry about. Biden offered concrete goals and plans to address our multiple crises: COVID, the economy, climate change, structural racism, and the assault on our freedoms by Donald Trump. He showed what a leader looked like: not a cruel, narcissistic imbecile, but a person that cared about his country and wanted to fix it.

The thing that Biden brings to the table right now is the same thing Barack Obama ran on: hope. And watching Biden address the nation I was reminded so viscerally of what it felt like to have a leader who had hope, in part because he understands grief. I didn’t know how much I needed to see a leader on screen speak to and show empathy for the massive grief that America is feeling right now, and I don’t think I’m alone in that.

On this summer night, let me take a moment to speak to those of you who have lost the most. I know how it feels to lose someone you love. I know that deep black hole that opens up in your chest. That you feel your whole being is sucked into it. I know how mean and cruel and unfair life can be sometimes.

But I’ve learned two things. First, your loved ones may have left this Earth but they never leave your heart. They will always be with you.

And second, I found the best way through pain and loss and grief is to find purpose.

This is the kind of thing Donald Trump could never, ever say. Because he simply does not care about human beings. And yeah, caring about people should not be the test for a President, but it’s what this election has come down to: a choice between compassion and cruelty. Between the guy that called white supremacists very fine people and the guy that’s going to stand up and say Nazis are not welcome. It’s sad that we’re here, but I hope that all this sadness and grief and anger can indeed give us purpose.

Biden ended with this simple call:

For love is more powerful than hate.

Hope is more powerful than fear.

Light is more powerful than dark.

This is our moment.

This is our mission.

That’s it. That’s the pitch. It’s very simple but we are indeed in a battle for the soul of this nation, and I hope that Biden can keep up the fire and power he brought to his speech last night. Because with that, this is a battle we can win.

(image: OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.