A friend messaged me the other day asking for why I am voting for Joe Biden. Other friends have wondered aloud whether anyone is actually voting FOR Joe Biden or just voting AGAINST Donald Trump.
I have been passionate about making sure members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints create more space for progressive members of the church or Democrats like myself. Recently I have been on Facebook sharing opinions about how I think Biden will be a much better president than Trump.
However, this friend wanted my non-Trump related version of why I am voting for Joe Biden. Specifically she said, “I am not interested in a Trump bashing session. I just want to focus on the person and his merits.”
So, in this article I will ignore the opponent and focus completely on Joe Biden’s merits, which are plenty. Without further ado, here they are: why I’m voting for Joe Biden.
- My biggest issue that I vote on is the environment. I believe that as Latter-day Saints, we have an obligation to be good stewards and care for Mother Earth that was given to us. She will continue to give us plenty, but we now have the technology to make our climate unsustainable for human life. Joe Biden was criticized for not having a climate change plan during the primary, so he did what he does best and listened to his critics. Then he created a climate plan that is both realistic and will do wonders for curbing our emissions.
- He has listened to and will continue to listen to scientists. During a pandemic, it is critically important that we have a national plan on how to move forward, led by science. He was responsible for much of our response to the Ebola outbreak, so he has the experience. He will heed scientific advice even if it makes him look bad – and that is what we need in our president right now. As Latter-day Saints we have been taught how important it is to be humble and accept advice based on studying it out in our minds. Joe Biden does that.
- He has an incredible economic recovery plan, one that includes creating a sustainable infrastructure in clean energy (see how important environment is to me from number 1 above). He understands the pandemic is what is causing the job reduction and economic slowdown, so recovery starts with dealing with COVID-19. As Latter-day Saints we understand that we make things happen, but they happen line-upon-line, precept-upon-precept. You can’t shove an economic recovery through without dealing with the issue of people being able to be together. He understands that trying to recover the economy without dealing with the pandemic first is impossible.
- The way he listens to others is incredibly refreshing. His empathy is powerful. He has been through some incredibly difficult times (losing his son, daughter, and his wife; also his speech impediment) and because of that he has an understanding and empathy that is so uniting. We need a uniting influence right now because we know from Matthew that a house divided against itself will not stand. We are divided as a nation. We need someone who can unite us.
- He has experience in politics. He understands how to get laws passed and what it takes to move people in the direction they need to go. That experience has proven extremely useful in knowing who to listen to and where to go for the best advice. He served as vice president for 8 years and was in congress for much longer. He’s worked with Republicans and Democrats – working across the isle when necessary to get things done. He’s not afraid of a challenge, but he’s willing to concede when he’s been outmatched. All around just aware of his deficiencies that he makes up for in surrounding himself with others smarter than him.
- His message has been one of unity and togetherness. He refuses to call people names and belittle. When the press has a question he focuses on the question and answers it. He doesn’t take credit when it’s not his to take. He chose for his vice president a woman who called him out during a debate in the most biting and directly personal fashion, yet here she is at his side. He puts those problems aside and focuses on unity. This Christlike inclusion is remarkable in a political climate that increasingly finds only fault and grudges.
- Post WWII one of the reasons the United States was able to recover so quickly was because the government created grants and loans for people who served in the military to get their education. We need more education and Joe Biden has a plan for that. His plan addresses questions on how student loan debt will be paid off when people don’t have jobs to pay them. His plan includes financial relief for students who need it most – not for families making millions, but focusing it on need.
- I really like how he is taking the time to listen to people he doesn’t necessarily agree with (the Black Lives Matter folks, for example). He doesn’t agree with quite a bit of what they stand for, and yet he still reaches out to Jacob Blake’s family, for example, showing real empathy and kindness. It is that empathy that’s missing right now that could help stop the protests. When you push people, they push back and the fight gets worse. When you listen, understand, and start moving people in the same direction, the protests end and real, substantive change takes place.
- The Second biggest issue I vote on is caring for the poor, the widows, and the fatherless. Joe Biden has made it clear that he will continue the Democratic tradition of creating a powerful safety net for the poor, all while encouraging people to work. I just finished Bill Clinton’s biography and was impressed at Clinton’s welfare reform efforts encouraging people to work while they need assistance from the government. Joe Biden looks like he will continue that effort.
There are more, but I think you get the idea. Joe Biden’s principles align quite nicely with Latter-day Saint principles in my mind. When we move past the (D) next to his name and actually look at the person, it’s easy.