Elected as one of the youngest US senators in 1972 at the age of 29, Delaware’s favourite son seems to be the would-be oldest-elected president of the United States, at 77.
We do not wish to speak yet with finality on Biden’s victory out of respect to the American electoral process. As of this writing, the Democratic candidate Joe Biden, two-term vice president and senator for 37 years, who, although he has garnered 279 electoral votes, has not yet been officially proclaimed the winner.
President Donald Trump, who got 217 electoral votes, has not yet conceded and is questioning the results of the voting in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Michigan, Georgia, and Arizona, alleging fraud and other irregularities. Under the American system, a presidential candidate needs at least 270 of the 538 electoral votes, to capture the White House.
Among the many good things said about Biden’s character, we admire the way he handled with elegance the personal tragedies that he went through – the death of his first wife Neilia and of their baby daughter Naomi in a car accident in 1972 and, five years ago, of his 46-year-old son Beau, who served as Delaware’s attorney general and with the U.S. forces in Afghanistan and who succumbed to brain cancer.
Having ourselves lost our 16-year-old daughter KC in a fire that gutted our home in 2004, we know how deeply agonizing it is to lose a child. The worst tragedy that can ever happen to a parent is when he loses his own child. You never recover from the loss, but you just learn to live with it.
As we told our friends, we lost our beloved mother when we were only nine years old and our father in our early 30s, but nothing compares to the emotional devastation of losing your own child.
Biden did not just lose one child. He lost two children. And he lost a wife.
Biden is heralded as the vice president to the first black American president, Barack Obama and, perhaps, the president to the first Asian-African-American and first woman vice president in US history, Kamala Harris. He would also be the second Roman Catholic who probably will sit in the Oval Office. The first Roman Catholic president of the US was the great John F. Kennedy.
While Biden is clearly on the road to the White House, our sympathy goes to President Trump. Having lost the Philippine presidential elections in 1998, we know how difficult it is to lose. It is never easy as you not only think about yourself but your countless supporters, the people who believed in you and campaigned for you, the citizens who cast their valued votes for you.
We believe, however, that once the smoke on alleged electoral fraud and irregularities clears, the American people, including President Trump, will respect the results. In the meantime, let the US electoral process take its course.
Going back to Biden, when proclaimed the winner, he will assume the presidency under the hovering dark cloud of the coronavirus pandemic, which was the cornerstone of his campaign and which has claimed so far some 250,000 American lives and infected more than 10 million others.
He will also be confronted with the ongoing multiple conflicts and tensions in the international community, where US interests are also at stake.
Among which are the lingering dispute in the South China Sea among the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei; the controversy in the Japanese-held isles in the Senkaku Straits or Daiyou to the Chinese in the East China Sea; the flashpoint in the Korean peninsula; the nuclear deal with Iran, between Iran and the US, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China, together with the European Union, but which the US withdrew from under President Trump;
The unfinished Arab-Israeli conflict, which is still awaiting final settlement and the establishment of a Palestinian homeland under a two-state solution; the long-drawn-out conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, which recently erupted into a military confrontation; the protracted war in Afghanistan and the continuing bloody wars in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and areas of West Africa bedevilled by ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the tribal wars.
We shall see in the next few weeks or months America’s direction in the midst of this global situation.