This blog stood out to me this semester for the author’s insight and personal interaction with University of Delaware’s own Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States. Michelle Wasserman is a Senior Public Policy Major with minors in Jewish Studies and Organizational & Communication Leadership. She wrote this blog after meeting Vice President Biden in his home state on Election Day, 2016. The best part? She just so happened to have one of our “Election Central” t-shirts advertising that night’s activities for students to follow the returns.
Read more student voices from the University of Delaware on my #BlogBlogProject.
I’d like to begin by first saying, congratulations to all of you who won your election on Election Day. I wish you luck!
November 8th I woke up at 7am, something unusual for a college senior. I had heard a rumor that Vice President Joe Biden would be at a coffee shop on the University of Delaware campus and I just had to meet him. I arrived at the coffee shop, waited patiently and watched my role model and personal hero walk through the doors. After composing myself, and pushing through the crowd I was able to make my way to the Vice President. Here is the conversation we had.
“Mr. Vice President, have you ever met your hero? Because I’m meeting mine right now.”
“No, I never got the chance. Mine is Jack Kennedy.”
As the day continued, and I told this story again and again. I was constantly asked, what is it about Joe Biden that you love him so much? My answer was consistent; “he was elected by the people and works tirelessly for the people.” Joe Biden, like his own hero JFK, is a politician who goes to work each day for the people he represents. He does not think of the next steps in his career or whether he will be put on some other politician’s enemy list. He looks at policy, analyzes how it will impact the lives of his constituents and makes the decisions that will serve them best. This is not something that can be said about many politicians now a day.
As I sit in my Public Policy classes, after this election, I think about why I want to go into this crazy rollercoaster of a professional field, why policy matters, and why policy makers are referred to as public servants. I speak about this with my classmates and we all come to the same conclusion, we want to help. We want to make the world a better place; we want America to be great.
I have a feeling this is how you felt when you were my age, maybe you even still do. As you sat in your political science classes, your economics classes, or your English classes, you had a dream of serving the people. I am writing you this letter to remind you of that feeling, of that passion and drive.
As January approaches, I ask you to look back and remember the first time you decided to run for public office. What you dreamed it would be like and what your goals were. I want you to remember your constituents who stood in front of you during town halls and shared with you their fears and dreams.
Remember the promises you made and put aside the partisanship and party lines. Most of all never fear being on the bad side of powerful people.
This election was unlike any other and left many Americans in fear for their safety and security. For those of you who spoke out against President Elect Trump during the campaign, do not forget why you did. Do not forget that although your political party may read the same, this does not mean your policies have to also. And to those of you who supported our next President, stay true to your beliefs and allow democracy to work in the way it always has. Allow your fellow public servants to make their own decisions and do not hold their values against them.
Democracy was born in this nation. It’s a beautiful thing that allows us to choose our own destiny and is meant to protect us. Each one of you, just like me, sat in a classroom and learned about freedom and the American dream. Each one of you had a moment that sparked your interest in policy and gave you the drive to become a public servant. Each one of you cares for your constituents and has the ability to be one of the few that truly embodies the concept of being elected by the people for the people.
This blog was written for a class at the University of Delaware by Michelle Wasserman, and published by Dr. Lindsay Hoffman with her permission.