FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2021
Also, remembering Clinton: This very morning, at 7 o'clock, our landlord gave our car a jump start. After that, he followed us over to the place where cars go to get new batteries.
As he drove us back to our sprawling campus, he mentioned how well he thinks Biden is doing. In turn, we mentioned what we saw yesterday, right there on our TV set.
We happened to be watching TV when Biden staged a brief commemoration of the fact that 50 million vaccinations have been delivered. He chatted with a succession of non-famous people as they sat and received their shots.
After that, he gave a brief pep talk about our ongoing war on the virus.
Here's what we told our landlord about what we thought we saw as we watched this brief event:
It occurred to us that Biden is delivering the best presidential leadership of our entire lifetime. His voice is perfect for the moment. So we thought yesterday, as we watched him interact with regular people, then give a simple speech.
What we thought we saw was this:
We thought we saw that President Biden knows how to like individuals. It isn't a matter of theory with him. He actually seems to like people and persons. It doesn't look like a game.
For ourselves, we're grateful for the way he's performing. This made us think, as we frequently do, of something Bill Clinton wrote.
For our money, the most instructive part of Clinton's memoir, My Life, is the passage he wrote about Arkansas' Pentecostals. At the start of the passage in question, he says he visited a certain Pentecostal retreat every summer but one from 1977 through 1992.
“Every year I witnessed some amazing new manifestations of the Pentecostals’ faith,” Clinton writes. Then the instruction arrives.
Arkansas' Pentecostals didn't tend to vote for Clinton. But he said he "liked and admired them:"
CLINTON (page 251): Far more important than what I saw the Pentecostals do were the friendships I made among them. I liked and admired them because they lived their faith. They are strictly anti-abortion, but unlike some others, they will make sure that any unwanted baby, regardless of race or disability, has a loving home. They disagreed with me on abortion and gay rights, but they still followed Christ’s admonition to love their neighbors.
“Besides being true to their faith, the Pentecostals I knew were good citizens,” Clinton wrote. “They thought it was a sin not to vote.”
After describing a compromise he reached with Pentecostal ministers about the licensing of child-care centers, Clinton concludes his rumination about this group of people—people who basically don't see things the same exact way he does:
CLINTON (page 252): Knowing the Pentecostals has enriched and changed my life. Whatever your religious views, or lack of them, seeing people live their faith in a spirit of love toward all people, not just your own, is beautiful to behold. If you ever get a chance to go to a Pentecostal service, don’t miss it.
Just a guess. The capacity to like and admire Others can play a significant role in a successful political life. "No people are uninteresting," or so Yevtushenko said.
President Biden seems to like people. Is it just our imagination, or is this helping him set an exceptional tone at this very unusual time?