First of all, a social place. What matters is not just how a person sees a problem, but also where they see it. Biden sees most of the problems from the perspective of the so-called “common man,” the lower and middle-class Truman Democrats around whom he grew up.
Second, an acute awareness of the vicissitudes of life. Biden said his father once showed him an image from the Viking comic, Hagar the Horrible, hammered with life and shouting, “Why me ?!” God answers, “Why not? Biden still has this comic. “It was my father,” he added.
Third, an intense focus on human dignity. “I think the Irish most often use the global ‘dignity’ of any other group of people,” Biden said. “I think it’s because when you have been deprived of dignity, you place great importance on it.” In mid-century America’s white ethnic hierarchies, “Being Irish had to be second-class,” Biden recalls. “The English owned the city.
From these three elements emerges a philosophy of governance, and subsequently a set of policies, which works hard to support people despite the setbacks in life, which provides people with good jobs so that they can live with dignity. , which repels the arrogance of wealth.
Another element of his basic worldview comes from 20th century Catholic social teaching. He said his father loved the French Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain, and later in the conversation he mentioned that he too was guided by Maritain.
Like most of the great figures of Catholic social education, Maritain emphasized social solidarity, the organic interdependence of people and communities. If you are soaked in Maritain, you think we have serious responsibilities to each other.
From these fundamental values develops a practical legislative program. The White House gave me a long list of various Biden legislative initiatives, showing how long Biden has been championing many of the ideas contained in his current big packages.