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Old Man Biden is the Right Choice Now

I’m exactly Joe Biden’s age so I can see myself in his shoes better than most. Actually, I almost went into politics myself when some pols here in Washington State suggested I run for Congress decades ago. That ship has long sailed but I’ve done demanding work in the US Foreign Service and continue to put in challenging work days in the nonprofit world and as a global peace-builder.

Now, like Biden, what I may have lost in stamina I’ve more than made up for with acquired wisdom, experience, stability and significantly better skills in communication and team work.

Like Biden, I’m slowing down physically. I can’t climb mountains anymore and my marathon medals just remind me how much fun it was to run for miles. The last time I ran was between gates in an airport, I wince getting up from a low sofa, and I needed a wide bike lane to feel safe riding the racing bike I just gave away.

In the interest of keeping what still works working, I work out every morning and walk 15 miles a week (and if I stumble on rough pavement, it has nothing to do with age!) Biden works out, bikes, and has a personal trainer to help keep him fit. Matched against the obese, sedentary Trump, who do you think is most likely not to finish a second term?

Of course, it’s Biden’s mind people are most concerned about. I get that.

He speaks slowly, but that’s not because he’s losing it. Given his history as a stutterer, speed isn’t a good idea. Trump speaks faster and with more evident energy at his rallies—but the word salad that often comes out of his mouth is to me a far more dangerous sign of a mind that can no longer hold a cohesive thread of thought. At least Biden has something cogent and coherent to say, whether you agree with him or not. As a neuroscientist on NPR said recently—unless you’re a race car driver or a fighter pilot, taking a little more time to reflect before making an important statement or decision is a good thing.

Biden, Trump, and House Speaker Johnson have all mixed up names just in the last few weeks. We’ve all had unguarded moments where we’re asked something on the spot and have stumbled. It happens, but brain experts agree that it’s not a reflection of intellect or capability.

Competence? In four years in office, Trump managed to cut taxes for the rich, antagonize America’s allies and put the whole concept of American democracy at risk. The infrastructure bill he promised Americans went nowhere because he lacked the intellect, skills and patience to get it through Congress. His border wall never got built. The “swamp” in Washington he swore to drain smelled worse when he left.

In just three years in office, Joe Biden launched the vast infrastructure program that Trump only talked about—just one of multiple major economic initiatives that rival FDR’s, putting the country on a whole new path to better lives for those whose boats definitely haven’t risen as the rich got richer. Even some of his enemies grudgingly marvel at his political savvy, negotiating skills, and sheer persistence. If that’s senility, then I’d say we need more of it.

Biden has a superb grasp of history, in all its lessons. Yet his mind is on the real here and now, seeing the nation and the world at large clearly, looking ahead to what must be done. In three years, he’s rebuilt and reinvigorated America’s vital global partnerships, faced down our enemies, encouraged our friends and at least earned the respect of many in the middle. His leadership of the response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been masterful, as have been his chess moves with the likes of China and Iran.

Deteriorating minds like Trump’s see history as personal and vindictive. The man is obsessed with every slight and insult he’s ever been hit with. His next moves are focused on revenge and on transactional deal-making, all in his own personal interests.

Trump openly admires the worst despots on the planet. He treats NATO as a protection racket instead of the vital bulwark for freedom it has been for 80 years. His comment that he would invite Putin to invade any NATO state “delinquent “on its dues is demented if not treasonous (BTW there are no “dues” in NATO).

So here’s the bottom line for me: The times are incredibly chaotic and dangerous. They demand leadership that is calm, smart, honest, experienced, courageous and compassionate. Donald Trump is almost laughably lacking in those qualities. He’s a self-absorbed, lying, unscrupulous fascist.

This old guy admires the hell out of Old Joe, and is appalled by Old Donald. We’ll have to choose one of them soon. Is the choice really that hard?