EDITORIAL: Heed Biden's plea for civility
As Vice President Joe Biden announced on Wednesday his decision not to run for president in 2016, he called for more collaborative discourse among members of differing political parties.
We hope many on both sides of the aisle who have long worked with and respected Biden will take heed — and we can one day (sooner rather than later, perhaps) turn a corner and usher in a new political era of dissent without personal destruction or self-interested sniping.
We know politics can be a blood sport and we agree that democracy thrives amid civil discourse and dissent. We just hope that a new crop of candidates can find a way to behave in more altruistic and less self-serving manner.
OK, it's a long shot given the current climate, but what are elections for if not a modicum of hope?
The vice president and his family have been grieving the loss of Biden's son, former Delaware attorney and Iraq war veteran Beau Biden, to brain cancer in May.
For some time, there has been intense speculation regarding Biden's plans to run. He has said publicly that the grieving process had to run its course and that was his priority.
On Wednesday, the vice president said he and his family have worked through that process so that thoughts of his son first bring a "smile to our faces" rather than tears. However, the window to mount a presidential campaign has closed, Biden said.
He won't be silent, Biden promised. And he'll speak out for issues that he holds dear. Besides a plea for cooperation across political parties, issues of importance to Biden also include income inequality and cancer awareness and research.
Biden is known as a gregarious and likeable man with the ability to reach across the political aisle and seek compromise and collaboration with politicians of differing ideological stripes.
His working-class appeal and penchant for a bit of Irish blarney, as CNN pointed out on Wednesday, make him not only appealing to colleagues but appealing to many American voters, as well.
Now the race is effectively between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, although there are other candidates, including former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, at the back of the pack.
And while Biden, a Scranton native, won't be in the race, we hope his working-class approach and collaborative style will influence current candidates. Many of those candidates seem more interested in creating a ratings spectacle, getting elected or re-elected, or achieving great personal gain at the expense of the greater community.
We can't accept that any longer.
If we, as a community of voters, refuse to stand for such behavior by exercising our votes in favor of civility, the climate could actually change.