Former Vice President Joe Biden Speaks to Santa Barbara and the American Nation

Photo by Alex Yam / Photo Editor

Anthony Han

Former Vice President of the United States Joe Biden took the Arlington Theatre stage in Santa Barbara with a gracious salute on Oct. 21. Many audience members stood up to receive the evening’s guest.

Biden said, “I love you too,” to start off and thanked the audience. He continued his jokes by questioning the crowd’s sanity and scolding them for wasting a beautiful Santa Barbara weekend inside a “cave” to listen to a politician.

However, Biden did not beat around the bush for long. He quickly jumped into the breakdown of America’s political system over the last decade. Biden began by reminiscing about the mid-1960’s, a time of bitter divides and highly-charged politics, and noted some atmospheric similarities between then and now. As he drew from his experience, the former Vice President offered three points that he thinks can alleviate the tensions that grip our country.

First, Biden spoke of the need to grow more comfortable with bipartisanship. Modern politics has grown ugly and mean-spirited, in Biden’s opinion. Challenging judgment without challenging morals or motives has been lost, and nobody truly “talks” anymore.

Biden disparaged the lack of empathy between present members of Congress and the lack of personal relationships between members of opposite parties. The lack of “bread-breaking” astounds Biden, who listed examples of his long relationships with Republican politicians, like John McCain and George W. Bush.

Second, Biden lambasted the American government, particularly the Democratic Party for failing to listen to the people. He lamented the shrinking of the middle-class, whom Biden gives credit to for much of America’s success.

Biden continued blasting the most recent election for lack of substantive debate. He takes issue with the public’s ignorance and points out how many people were well-versed on Clinton’s emails or Trump’s sex scandals. He said that these same people were unaware that both candidates did not actually plan to implement meaningful reforms for important issues, such as education or the economy.

The former Vice President’s last point was about the battle for America’s soul, as he described. Biden spoke about America’s moral fabric dissolving, which means how we speak to and treat one another.

Biden was shocked at the silent response to the Charlottesville protests, and he vehemently abhors the protests as white supremacist garbage. “Silence is complicity,” Biden said. “Hate has no place in this country and will receive no safe harbor.”

Biden spoke of the what makes up America: the country’s ability to constantly shift, remake its image, and break orthodoxy. He recalled a conversation in which he was asked to define America in one word. Biden’s response was “possibilities.”

“The price good people pay for not being involved, is being governed by the bad,” Biden said. He drew attention to shrinking interest in the public sector and expressed excitement for the millennial generation.

Biden praised millenials as the most educated, tolerant, and technologically advanced generation. However, he pointed out that these attributes are useless if they are not utilized.