JOE BIDEN: The Un-Nigerian Vice President

By Ikenga Chronicles January 17, 2017

JOE BIDEN: The Un-Nigerian Vice President

— Vitus Ozoke

I have just finished watching an exclusive interview between CNN’s Gloria Borger and Vice President Joe Biden. Many important and revealing issues were covered. But one that stands clearly out for me is the question of what special moment Joe will remember about his boss, President Obama.

Joe shares a very personal and difficult time when his late son Beau was dealing with cancer but still serving as Delaware’s Attorney General. He narrates that when he first noticed that the cancer was beginning to affect Beau’s speech articulation, he feared that Beau might have to resign his office as Delaware’s AG, and that if that happened, Beau and his family, in the absence of the income, might fall on hard times.

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So, he shares that development with the president as he felt obliged to, because he believed he owed it to the president to know where he was, mentally and emotionally, as he discharged his job as his closest lieutenant. So he tells the president that he and his wife, Jill Biden, might have to sell their house to be able to support Beau and his family.

President Obama is visibly angry. He firmly opposes the idea, and rebukes Joe, “No, you’ll not sell the house. Don’t sell the house, Joe. Promise me, Joe!”. He presses upon him to promise he will not do that. Joe narrates how Obama told him emphatically, “You will not sell the house, Joe; I will give you the money”.

I have been trying to unpack that exchange. On one simple level, it shows the very close and personal relationship between Joe and President Obama. These men are not just boss and subordinate, they are best friends. Their families are friends. And the country, and the world for that matter, has benefited from that sound and faithful relationship between the President and the Vice President. Because there is no drama in their relationship, there has been no drama in the way they have worked together. VP Biden will go down in history’s assessment as the best, most loyal, Vice President in America’s presidential experience.

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It also further reveals President Obama’s humanity. This is a president who is willing to step in for his friend. He is not rich, but he is willing to make a huge sacrifice for a man whose friendship and loyalty have served him well. You can’t put a price to it!

Notice that I said it further reveals Obama’s humanity, because evidence of his humanity is amply out there. His fight for universal healthcare coverage for every American, so that Americans are not forced to make the difficult choice between breakfast and their medication, is evidence of it. His reluctance and refusal to send other people’s kids to war, despite pressure and ridicule, choosing instead the path of diplomacy, is evidence of his humanity. His fight for sensible gun safety laws is evidence of it. Going on national TV to weep openly as he tried to save dumb and stupid America from itself is evidence of his humanity.

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But there is one other thing that emerges from Joe’s exclusive interview with Gloria Birger. Joe is concerned, indeed afraid, that if Beau resigned his job as Delaware’s Attorney General, he and his family would fall on hard times. And to be able to pick them up, Joe and his wife Jill would have to sell their house. I hope Nigerians watched that interview or are reading this. A state’s Attorney General would fall on hard times if he stopped being the Attorney General. The Vice President of the United States would have to sell his house to be able to help his son and his family. This is not by any long shot a Nigerian story! It doesn’t happen in Nigeria.

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In Nigeria, a local councilman who suffers health affliction and resigns his council position does not have to worry about his family falling on hard times. And it does not matter how long he has been in politics. He has stolen enough from the public coffers to sustain generations of his family in sheer luxury. A Vice President in Nigeria has stolen so much that he can afford to put his son and his son’s family on the moon, if need be. So that rather than sell his house to help rescue his son, a Nigerian Vice President will buy more houses for his son and his son’s family. God help us!

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Anyway, good old Joe. I love him! May God continue to heal his heart. Joe has the best heart in the world. He has shown tremendous grace under pressure. Joe has guided a young inexperienced first term senator from the great state of Illinois into one of the most successful presidents America has ever known. He is an unsung hero, the calm behind the power, the anonymous author of a successful bestseller. God bless you, Joe! Always.

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