US President elect Joe Biden: A leader with courage and empathy; a hope for his country and world 

The first and foremost aspect that strikes about Joe Biden, the President elect of America, is the fact that he didn’t let any of the personal tragedies get him down

Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@NaomiBiden
Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@NaomiBiden
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Humra Quraishi

The first and foremost aspect that strikes about Joe Biden, the President elect of America, is the fact that he didn’t let any of the personal tragedies get him down. Perhaps, equipped with exceptional emotional strength, he could take on major setbacks, which the ordinary couldn’t have managed to go through.

In fact, for the last couple of days I have been reading details of the personal tragedies Joe Biden faced and overcame. Not one of those to give up, he faced each one of them with great courage. No to be overlooked the fact that he lost his first wife, Neilia, and also his one year old daughter Naomi, in a car accident in 1972. His two young sons, Hunter and Beau, survived that accident though both were injured. In fact, there’s a very touching photograph of Joe Biden when he was first sworn in to the U.S Senate in 1973, taking oath by the bedside of his injured sons, while they were still in hospital. I kept staring at that photograph and wondering how many political figures would have done so. Only a handful. Only those equipped with a strong personality.

Tragedies continued for Joe Biden as many years later, Beau, who followed in the footsteps of his father by becoming attorney general of Delaware, died of brain cancer in 2015. After losing his son to cancer Joe Biden was determined to focus on cancer research, heading up the Cancer Moonshot programme of the Obama administration.

In fact, the more I’m reading about the challenges that Joe Biden faced and personal tragedies that came his way, the more I am amazed at his survival skills or call it that exceptional emotional strength. Perhaps, Joe Biden adhered to his mother’s words. To quote him from his Yale speech: “I can remember my mother – a sweet lady – looking at me, after we left the hospital, and saying, ‘Joey, out of everything terrible that happens to you, something good will come if you look hard enough for it.’”

In the midst of these challenges the one big turning point that came in his life was when he met Jill. He married her in 1977… And the way Jill describes in her writings, how Joe proposed to her and the ‘why’s to the delay in her saying ‘yes’, is simply touching. In fact, in her writings, Jill comes across as not just a compatible partner to Joe but also as a loving mother to his children. Jill Biden’s memoir – ‘Where the Light enters: Building a family, Discovering Myself’ is a must read in this regard.


Needless to add that in any given sphere, particularly in politics, the person’s personal life is absolutely significant. After all, how he deals with the personal struggles are pointers to his personality. Going by Joe Biden’s life and the turns he had to face and how he dealt with each one of those tragedies, goes to relay that he will perhaps try to settle some of the turbulence hitting not just the people of his country and also all those living in the different countries of this world.

Look around, as civil wars and internal strife continues and accelerates with intrusions by the international forces and lobbies, it is getting much too painful to see the plight of hundreds and thousands in Yemen , Syria, Palestine, Iraq and in many other lands.

For those affected or nearly ruined in wars and aggressions, the news of Joe Biden’s victory brings along a little ray of hope. After all, in his writings and speeches he comes across as a sensitive man who cares very deeply for children and family values and human bonding. After all, Joe Biden has himself gone through pain so he can well imagine the pain of others. Maybe, just maybe, this empathy in the leader of one of the most powerful countries of the world will bring in a little peace in the countries torn apart by wars and aggression.

And then I think of our own country. I wonder why the politicians in our country don’t talk aloud, if not write , as honestly and genuinely about their personal pains. Here the hypocrisy levels are so high that we get to hear only the ‘good’ things about the politicians around. Nah, they do not seem to carry the nerves nor the courage to talk about the personal upheavals or any of the lows. Once in a while if any of those facts are leaked and reach the public domain they are rather too swiftly covered by a heap of cover- ups and what not!

Why do our political rulers try to project themselves as great men! Remember, greatness doesn’t come from concealing or twisting or bypassing or sabotaging facts. Rather by accepting all those lows and fall outs and whatever else comes along as the aftermath.

Correct me if I’m wrong but none of the biographies and autobiographies of the present rulers of the day, of our country, carry the lesser known grim details to their personal lives. We, the citizens, ought to know the relevant backgrounders to them as they sit up there, trying to rule. That’s a different matter altogether that as of today it is sheer misrule which seems prevailing in these dark turbulent times …spreading out as never before.

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Published: 12 Nov 2020, 9:30 PM