A Different Kind of Presidential Presence

A couple of days ago, President Joe Biden answered critical questions of concern to the American people in his first Presidential Town Hall, organized by CNN.

He revealed, for example, that anyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get it by the end of July.

“The clear notion is, if you’re eligible, if it’s available, get the vaccine,” he said. “Get the vaccine.”

He added that according to the scientists who advise him and from what he reads, life will return to full normal "after a year."

He refused to get involved in a discussion about former President Trump saying, “for four years, all that’s been in the news is Trump. For the next four years, I wanna make sure the news is the American people,” Biden said. “I’m tired of talking about Trump.”

Isn't he right?

President Biden reminded us of Vice President Biden. Of Presidential Candidate Biden. He is the same man. He is remaining true to himself.

He presented a lot of news. But the essence of his meeting with the citizens, for me, was not in the news he gave. It was the form, not the content that mattered. The most important news for me is the new ethos and style introduced by the President of the country.

It is the first look at the return to normalcy. Returning to the presidency as we remember it.

Suddenly the loud noises we had been hearing from the presidential megaphone became a whisper.

There were no counterclaims. No ridicule and insults. No patent lies.

We saw a serene, calm man talking to the citizens, showing understanding for their problems. He asked one of them to stay after the meeting to tell him more details about his problem so he could help him. (By the way, I did not find his answer convincing about raising the minimum wage to $15. Not that it should not be increased. It should, and very much so, for people to be able to live, but there should be some exemptions, so that small businesses can make ends meet. Otherwise what would be the point of increasing staff salaries on the one hand and closing down the business after a while and leaving them unemployed?)

We finally saw a President talking about principles again. And ideals. He even apologized for being long-winded.

He was measured in his language and was careful not to over-promise. And he did not lie. Yes, our President did not lie. Finally!

We saw a President bring us back to our greatness, with references to the great leaders of the country of the past, to its principles and traditions, to its place in the world.

We saw a President speak again and again about the dignity and decency – of the American people. And about their kindness.

He spoke about the need to help the weak. The need to fight racism. To promote human rights around the world. To address the ‘best angels’ of the American people.

We saw a President dressed in simplicity, not bombast. Down to earth – grounded. He wakes up in White House and asks his wife "what are we doing in this place?" He feels uncomfortable with White House staff fussing over them.

He referred to his mother. To the student loans taken out by his children. To the fact that he was the poorest senator for 30 years.

It was exactly what the country needed.

A balm to the soul of the country.


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