UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Who is Joe Biden?

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was born November 20, 1942, to working-class parents in Pennsylvania. Since he was young, Biden had political ambitions and it was clear to people who knew him. Joe Biden was not just an average teenager, he had vast political ambitions and he worked hard to achieve those goals. However, Biden’s upbringing was not easy as he did not come from a family of privilege. 

According to Biography.com, “As a child, Biden struggled with a stutter, and kids called him “Dash” and “Joe Impedimenta” to mock him. He eventually overcame his speech impediment by memorizing long passages of poetry and reciting them out loud in front of the mirror.” (1) Biden eventually overcame his speech impediment, choosing a career that relied heavily on talking, politics. Biden’s time affording school was not easy either, “he had to work by washing the school windows and weeding the gardens to help his family afford tuition.” (2) Biden clearly had a tough upbringing and he suggests that this tough upbringing created him into the person he is today. Biden’s political prowess, political IQ, as well as overall charisma cannot be overlooked as he worked his way through politics. 

Joe Biden’s political career began at the local level with his time as a City Counselor, however, his federal political career began with his election to the United States Senate at the age of 29. According to Biography.com “He became the fifth-youngest U.S. senator in history as well as Delaware’s longest-serving senator.” At the age of 29, Joe Biden was elected to the United States Senate and soon began to work his way into the inner circles of Washington D.C. His political expertise would come to be of high importance when a young Senator from Illinois ran for President. 

In 2008, Biden ran for the Democrat nomination for President. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, “His 2008 presidential campaign never gained momentum, and he withdrew from the race after placing fifth in the Iowa Democratic caucus in January of that year.” (4) Although his race for the Presidency was a failure, Joe Biden was not done in his ambitions to hold a position in the Executive Branch of the US Federal Government. On August 23 Obama announced he selected Biden as his running mate, and in November, Obama and Biden were elected as President and Vice President of the United States and served two consecutive terms. 

Biden’s humble beginnings present an honorable picture for him, however, Biden is by no means perfect. In the past, he has supported racist crime bills and appointed a hypocritical prosecutor as his running mate. As Forbes writes, “In that position she [Kamala Harris] oversaw the arrest and prosecution of thousands of people, mostly young people of color, for marijuana and other drug offenses.”(5) Nieither Harris nor Biden are ideal candidates and those celebrating their win should reanalyze their past legislative actions and see exactly what made them successful legislators. As we look to a future under President Biden, we should not forget all those who suffered under strict harsh drug penalties, mandatory minimums, and the racist origins of the war on drugs. Biden is a hardworking individual, however, his past as well as the past of Kamala Harris, present a possibly problematic presidency in the coming four years.

  1. https://www.biography.com/political-figure/joe-biden 

  2. https://www.biography.com/political-figure/joe-biden

  3. https://www.biography.com/political-figure/joe-biden

  4. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Joe-Biden

  5. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kriskrane/2020/08/19/a-vp-kamala-harris-would-be-a-disaster-for-marijuana-policy/?sh=160d41bc3c89