By KEN MAMMARELLA
Special to Delaware Business Times
America’s political system is broken, but it can – and should – be fixed by rebuilding friendships and rallying around ideals, not tribes, Joe Biden said Monday.
“Do it the Delaware way,” the former vice president said in his keynote at the 181st Annual Dinner of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce. “When you know someone personally,” you can be more honest with them, he explained. “All politics is personal, especially foreign policy.”
He urged hundreds at Wilmington’s Chase Center on the Riverfront to rebuild the political system with “decency, honesty, dignity and respect, … leaving hate behind.”
He referenced disrupted “political norms of behavior, … half-baked nationalism and blaming trouble on others.” That blame game has “been the tool of charlatans throughout history,” Biden said.
His suggested solution: building on “the shared democracy of freedom” and “a liberal world order that has served our economy, our people and our nation” for decades.
Biden recalled the start of his career in public service in 1970, and felt that the nation was divided then by the Vietnam war, but the system was not broken as it is now.
There’s a consensus on every major issue of 54 to 68 percent, but the will of the people is being stymied by politics that “has gotten too petty, too partisan.”
Biden and his wife, Jill, on Monday were also named recipients of the Josiah Marvel Cup, the chamber’s highest honor. In a video discussing their legacy, Fred Sears, former leader of the Delaware Community Foundation, said he expects more “great things” from both.
Like what they were doing the next day. Jill missed the dinner to ensure she could make her 8:30 a.m. class at Northern Virginia Community College, and Joe left early, for a California event on cancer.
Education and cancer (son Beau, Delaware’s former attorney general, died of brain cancer) are among the focuses of the Beau Biden Foundation, which also works on domestic and sexual violence, equality and the American dream. The chamber Monday announced at $35,000 gift to the foundation.
Biden repeatedly thanked Delaware for the opportunity to serve it in government and Delawareans for how they helped him and his family. “I’ll never be able to repay the state for all the things it has done for me.” In accepting the Marvel Cup, he riffed on writer James Joyce and said “when I die, Delaware will be written on my heart.”
Biden, who has been on tour promoting his memoir, “Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose,” took a break from traveling to attend this year’s event. His book tells a story of how family and friendships sustain us; and how hope, purpose, and action can guide us through the pain of personal loss into the light of a new future.
Joe Biden represented Delaware for 36 years in the U.S. Senate before becoming the 47th Vice
President of the United States.