Dear Mr. Vice President…
Let me say, up front, that I will be voting for you.
Nonetheless, I felt disappointed, embarrassed and frustrated by your performance in the debate on Tuesday. It’s also what I have been feeling about your campaign this past month.
And I want you to know why. And what I pray you will do about it.
So hang with me to the end, okay?
You see, I want to vote FOR you — not AGAINST President Trump.
I want to vote for you because I believe, in my heart, that you are the best person to be our next President. Not because Donald Trump has been a bad (or even the worst) President.
And I want others to vote for that same reason.
I was EXCITED to vote for you after watching the Democratic National Convention in August. Throughout the week, you told us who YOU ARE. You referred to but did not focus on what President Trump IS NOT. You let us make our own comparison and come to our own conclusions.
What was mine?
That you are uniquely qualified to be President at this precarious moment in history.
Unlike any other citizen, you could step into the Oval Office and know what to do and how to do it from Day One. You won’t have to go through the typical learning curve of first-time Presidents. You already have a broad array of experiences to help you deal with so many of the issues we are facing.
You have relationships with many leaders around the world. You can call on them, from Day One, to develop a unified approach to dealing with the pandemic. You realize that we can’t deal with it alone. It is a GLOBAL crisis requiring global cooperation among leaders.
So, too, is the economic fall-out from the pandemic. And climate change. Not to mention immigration, system racism and systemic poverty.
During the Convention, I learned that you cared about some of the same issues I care about. That you care about our democracy and the honoring of the Constitution.
I know you care about the racial and gender discrimination that events this year have exposed. And providing relief to the individuals and businesses that have suffered the most in this pandemic.
You also recognize the legitimacy of climate change.
More importantly, you want the United States to be a leader in protecting — and SAVING — this planet.
During the Convention, I learned about something more important than your record.
I learned that you’ve made mistakes in your life and political career — some of which were doozies. You’re not perfect and neither am I. We all make mistakes — even though some of us don’t like to admit it.
I believe this to be one of the most important characteristics in a leader. To be able to admit when he or she makes a mistake, to take responsibility for it and to learn from it.
I do not expect a leader to know it all or always be right.
Rather, a leader is one who continues to learn, grow and, when needed, change and do things differently. This is not being wishy-washy. When we learn more, the whole idea is that we make BETTER choices and act based on the new information we have.
Throughout the convention, I heard stories of the challenges you have had to overcome. I knew about some, but many were new to me. And I got to hear and see how those challenges have shaped you. Those stories gave me a glimpse of the courage, strength, conviction and resiliency within you. All things I want in any leader.
Watching it, I remembered that you have experienced the deepest of pain in your life. As well as the greatest of joy. That your heart has been broken by love AND that it has been healed by love.
This is so inspiring because I know that a healed heart is quite different than a wounded heart.
A wounded heart lashes out in pain — wounding others and creating more pain in our world.
But a wounded heart that has healed has the capacity for great love. As well as compassion, understanding, wisdom, courage and strength.
And it can inspire those same qualities in others. This is what I witnessed in Brayden Harrington when he so bravely shared his story.
Watching in August, I felt INSPIRED by and EXCITED to vote for you this November. Not because I didn’t want Trump re-elected but because I wanted YOU elected.
I knew you had a plan — but not all the answers. I knew you wanted to take the country in a direction that I, too, envision.
That week, you painted a vision that reminded us of what we, as a country, profess. And of what we, as individuals and a country, can become.
It’s a vision that spoke to my heart. That had me say “YES”.
And it had NOTHING to do with President Trump.
Bottom line, you painted a picture of who you are, how you’ll lead and the vision you have of us.
You treated us as intelligent, capable adults and respected us enough to let us make our choice when we vote.
I share all of this because this is the Joe Biden I wanted — but didn’t — see on stage at the debate Tuesday night. This is the message and vision I wanted you to share. And it’s the message my heart longs to hear in your campaign ads.
Yes, I know that President Trump violated every rule of the debate. That he engaged in rude, aggressive and downright mean behavior. It was behavior unbecoming of a President.
He attacked you, your record, your intelligence and your credibility. And I know that he told outright lies at times — which anyone can discover if they go to www.factcheck.org.
But you stooped to his level, Mr. Vice President. You may say that he didn’t act very “presidential” but neither did you.
I’m as tired of YOU attacking him as I am of HIM attacking you.
I’m also scared of the consequences of running an ANTI-Trump campaign instead of a PRO-Biden (& Harris) campaign. Because if the majority of your ads attack Trump, you are being as DIVISIVE as he is.
And so I ask you, Mr. Vice President. If your campaign does nothing to heal the divisiveness, how can you expect your presidency will?
If you do not begin to heal the divisiveness BEFORE the election, I fear you will be inept at healing it afterward.
Trump's followers will simply become anti-Biden. Just like many have been anti-Trump these past four years. And NOTHING will get done.
Mr. Vice President, I don’t need or want you to take a stand AGAINST Trump and all the things he does or does not stand for. Even egregious things like his refusal to condemn white supremacy groups. Let Trump’s words and actions be seen, exposed and judged for what they are by the American people.
Let US take that stand with our vote.
Please stop attacking him for what he is NOT and what he HASN’T done.
Instead, tell us clearly and powerfully what you ARE and what you WILL do.
We can see the contrast. It’s readily apparent.
Last Tuesday, when President Trump started interrupting and harassing you, I prayed you would not react.
That you would stand there — in silence — and let his rudeness and bullying be seen for what it was. That you would let Chris Wallace call him on it. To let Chris expose the President’s unwillingness to follow the rules.
When Trump said things that were so clearly not true, I didn’t want you to call him a liar or a fool.
I wanted you to stand tall, look in the camera, and simply tell us the FACTS. To tell us YOUR plan. To tell us YOUR record.
To let us see your power, your courage and your HEART.
When I was in first grade, some of my classmates used to call me names and bully me during recess. At first, I responded with anger — yelling at them to stop. Then I responded with tears — pleading for them to leave me alone.
Of course, the more I engaged with them, the more they continued.
That’s when my mom told me this simple truth.
“If you let them know they’re getting to you, Teresa, they’ll just keep doing it.”
So I learned to go about my business, to keep doing what I was doing regardless of what they said or did.
It didn’t mean I liked it. It didn’t mean I wasn’t mad and hurt. And it DEFINITELY didn’t mean I liked being treated that way or that I liked the bullies.
It’s just that I learned to not give them my power by engaging with them.
And I discovered that’s one of the most courageous and powerful stances I could have ever taken.
And in not giving them my power, some of my other classmates unexpectedly rallied around me.
You have that same power within you, Mr. Vice President. And if you stand in it, if you stand in the truth of who you are and what you believe in, we will see it. We will support you.
In fact, I think some will rally around and support you who might not have otherwise.
And they will vote FOR YOU.
I know I will.
P.S. I applaud your decision to discontinue running negative ads in light of the President’s hospitalization.
I have already noticed and appreciated the difference.
Already I am hearing more about you. I am getting a sense of who you are and who you will be as our President. Of your vision, your experience and your heart.
PLEASE Mr. Vice President...
When President Trump is healthy again (also my prayer), please do not change back. Stay TRUE to who you are.