“This is not America”: former US Vice President JOE BIDEN on the power of positive example

Jul 12, 06:00 PM

Few politicians have dealt with weightier global issues, or dealt with more devastating personal tragedy, than JOE BIDEN, two-term Vice President to Barack Obama. As a young senator in 1972 he lost his first wife and his daughter in a car crash. During his second term as Vice President, his son Beau succumbed to brain cancer aged only 46.

On the latest edition of ANGER MANAGEMENT WITH NICK CLEGG, Joe Biden speaks movingly about how to deal with unimaginable loss without lapsing into despair. He talks about where the rage that now defines our political climate comes from, and how to fight it. And he warns that America’s current attitude to friends and allies is imperilling its influence as a global force for good. “The world responds to America not because of the example of our power,” he says, “but the power of our example.”

This conversation between Nick Clegg and Joe Biden took place at the Copenhagen Democracy Summit at the Royal Danish Playhouse, Copenhagen, Denmark on 22 June 2018.

  • “Character is not made up of one big decision. It’s a thousand little decisions. If you lie to the waiter, you’re going to lie to me someday.

  • On the separation of migrant children from their parents: “It makes me feel shame. I really mean that. I’m proud of the response the American people have shown. This is is not America. We are not as good as we believe we are – but we are much better than this.”

  • “Right now America is sending a signal that is so damaging to our ability to be a positive force in the world. Praising Duerte, praising Putin, praising Kim Jong-Un? What are we doing?

  • On ‘Promise Me, Dad’, the book on the aftermath of his sons’ death: “I wanted it to be about redemption. To give people hope. If you can find purpose after loss, it’s your way to deal with that loss. And internalise the good part of what you’ve lost.”

  • On Brexit: “America’s ability to meet our responsibilities around the world rests upon a Europe that is whole, free and at peace. It is the platform that allows us to maintain our security. We badly need Europe whole, free, at peace – and united.

  • On the aftermath of Brexit: “I think we‘ve got to have a period of saying ‘OK, you want a bite out of that apple? How‘s it taste? What's going on? How do you feel about that?‘“

  • On Britain potentially leaving the EU: “I was really disappointed in terms of US interests. If we had any voice in Europe, it was you. I was not surprised, because in times of confusion and great change I think we all become susceptible to demagogues and charlatans who in order to aggrandise their power find a scapegoat.”

  • On the future: “Right now there’s pace on the ball. Turnout is up among Democrats and Independents. Republicans are disillusioned. There is a sense that, damn it, I’m taking this country back. And I think you’re going to see it in your country too.

Anger Management with Nick Clegg is created by Podmasters, producers of the hit Brexit podcast Remainiacs. Producer: Andrew Harrison. Studio production: Sophie Black. Music by Jon Luc Heffernan used under Creative Commons licence. Photo: Paul Heartfield.

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© 2018 Nick Clegg/Podmasters