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Mr. President, Please Pass the Torch

President Joe Biden speaks.
The ravages of time have caught up with our President, and sadly, it is time for him to step aside.

Following President Biden's recent interview with ABC, Rep. James Clyburn, the South Carolina Democrat who helped him secure the nomination four years ago, said "Biden is who our country needs."

He made similar comments back when Biden first ran against Donald Trump, and he was correct. Joe Biden then was exactly who our country needed following the disastrous four years of Trump's presidency. His performance as our president has proved the accuracy of those words, and we all should be grateful for what this kind, caring man has done for our country.

When Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took office four years ago, America faced a ranging pandemic, an economic crisis, a climate crisis, and racial injustice. They promised to move quickly to tackle these issues and that's exactly what they have done. And yes, there is more to do.

Biden Accomplishments

Just last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 206,000 in June, with the unemployment rate at 4.1 percent. While Republicans blame Biden for high inflation, it is steadly coming down. Now, the Federal Planning Bureau forecasts that average consumer price inflation should be 3.2 percent by years end and just 2.0 percent in 2025, compared to 4.06 percent last year and 9.59 percent in 2022 -- a rate largely attributable to the pandemic, which Trump thoroughly mismanaged.

Under the Biden administration, the Inflation Reduction Act helped lower costs for families, reducing the deficit and making the largest corporations pay their fair share.

Tackling the high cost of prescription drugs, that new law allows Medicare to negotiate the price of certain high-cost drugs, for example capping the cost of a month's supply of insulin at $35. Moreover, related actions by Biden have caused gas prices to drop by more than $1.60 per gallon from their peak in the summer of 2022.

The list of his achievements goes on, including:

  • The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which helps remove firearms from dangerous individuals, narrows the "boyfriend loophole," expands mental health services in schools and supports school safety.

  • Rebuilding our infrastructure through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

  • Protecting marriage for LGBTQ+ and interracial couples.

  • Appointing Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson and federal judges of diverse backgrounds.

  • Supporting Ukraine in response to Putin's aggression.

  • Issuing executive orders protecting reproductive rights that are being threatened by Republicans.

  • Doggedly working to provide student debt relief in the face of opposition by Republicans.

  • Delivering an aggressive climate and environmental justice agenda.

  • Providing affordable health insurance to more people than ever before.

  • Helping to reduce household energy costs.

There is much more, of course, even as Biden has had to deal with the tragedy that's taking place in Gaza and its attendant domestic repercussions along with immigration and its related issues -- all while coping with stubborn opposition from Republicans and constant criticism and challenges by Trump and his MAGA supporters.

The Ravages of Age

But now, perhaps, comes his biggest test. Concerns and criticism about his age and mental fitness that have plagued Biden throughout his presidency have boiled over following his poor performance in the Trump debate, and his efforts to quell those concerns have proved to be less than effective.

Based on that debate and his subsequent performances in interviews and meetings, including one with Democratic governors at the White House, it is painfully clear that today's President Biden is a far cry from the candidate who we elected over Trump four years ago.

At 81, it is obvious that the years have taken their toll. His memory is suffering, and he often seems lost without a teleprompter. Asked during an ABC interview if he had watched his own debate performance afterwards, Biden said he wasn't sure. What? How could you not know that? While seemingly fit enough, especially when compared to the obviously overweight Trump, his movements are slow and unsteady. Tragically, none of this will go away. We simply do not get younger and stronger and more mentally fit as we age. That just does not happen.

Watching this play out is sad, indeed, and Joe Biden doesn't deserve this. However, at some point in our lives we all experience the ravages of old age -- unless we don't make it that far, of course. Nevertheless, he is the President, and as long as he holds that job, Joe Biden must deal with the vast responsibilities of the presidency.

Thus, the thought of what could happen over the next four years is one of legitimate concern. What if Putin or some other nasty dictator whom Trump emulates decides to test Biden further? How would he respond? What would he do? Fortunately, he has a Cabinet and staff to turn to for help. But then, when it's all done, he must call the shots.

Dementia is not a friend. It does not get better -- in fact, it only progresses and gets worse. Can we entrust the future and safety of our country to a President in that situation, no matter what they've done in the past, no matter how well-meaning, likeable and honest they are?

Pass the Torch

Joe Biden is a stubborn man. He obviusly is angry that some fellow Democrats are calling for him to "pass the torch" to a younger candidate, apparently beginning to coalesce around Vice President Harris. One of his primary election opponents even launched a petition urging him to step aside. Biden also despises Trump, says he's a danger to Democracy, and believes he is the best person to send him into permanent political retirement.

Joe Biden deserves our admiration, respect and appreciation for all that he's done in his long and laudable public service career in Congress, as Vice President, and as our President. But it is clear that he is in denial -- refusing to accept that like so many people his age, he is suffering from the ravages of time.

Some critics contend Biden's refusal to step aside is selfish. That's not the case. It simply comes from the dementia that has taken over. But, for the good of the nation, Biden needs to accept what is happening to him and step aside. That's how he can save America from Donald Trump.

Mr. President, please pass the torch. There is simply too much at stake, including our very democracy.

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