The Corner

Politics & Policy

Someone Else’s Life Is Passing before Biden’s Eyes

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden makes remarks before boarding an Amtrak train in Cleveland, Ohio, September 30, 2020. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

Sometimes when Joe Biden offers yarns about his childhood, I think of a Woody Allen bit from his stand-up days in which the comic tells the story of being invited to a Halloween party while visiting the Deep South in the early 1960s. Allen decides to dress-up as a ghost, and throws on a white sheet and sets off. Soon, a bunch of men also in white sheets drive up and order him to get in a car. A naïve Allen, assuming the group of people are also going to the party as ghosts, obliges.

Allen, of course, ends up at a Klan rally, where he gives himself away by “pledging” 50 dollars for the cause in the manner Jews donate at Temple during Rosh Hashana and other holidays. Facing the noose, Allen says:

And suddenly my whole life passed before my eyes. I saw myself as a kid again, in Kansas, going to school, swimming at the swimming hole, and fishing, frying up a mess-o-catfish, going down to the general store, getting a piece of gingham for Emmy-Lou. And I realize it’s not my life. They’re gonna hang me in two minutes, the wrong life is passing before my eyes.

In a piece I wrote not long ago about Biden’s long and rich imaginary life I noted that we were probably “only a few speeches away from Biden recalling how his dad used to sit on the edge of his bed and tell him, “Champ, always remember, transgendered folk are just like the rest of us.” He’s certainly working his way there.

Mock Trump’s word salads all you like, but read this fairytale Biden offered at his recent soft-pitch townhall:

And I was being dropped off to get an application in the center of our city; Wilmington, Delaware, the corporate capital of the world at the time. And these two men, I’m getting out to get an application to be a lifeguard in the African American community because there was a big swimming pool complex.

And these two men, well dressed, leaned up and hugged one another and kissed one another. And I’m getting out of the car at the light and I turn to my dad. My dad looked at me and said, “Joey, it’s simple. They love each other.”

The idea that an 8-year-old child or a 10-year-old child decides, you know I decided I want to be transgender. That’s what I think I’d like to be. It would make my life a lot easier. There should be zero discrimination.

And what’s happening is too many transgender women of color are being murdered. They’re being murdered. And I think it’s up now to 17, don’t hold me to that number. But it’s — it’s higher now?

So, let’s get this straight: A teen Biden is looking for work in the black community of 1950s Wilmington, when he happens to spy two men just kissing on the street. His dad, a car dealer from working class stock, tells him, in essence, that love is love.  Biden must have forgotten this lesson when he was voting for the Defense of Marriage Act only to remember it now. It’s certainly convenient — and also about as likely as the ending of Allen’s skit, wherein the comic gives such a rousing speech about peaceful coexistence that the Klansmen end up buying Israel bonds.

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