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opinion | Will Rasky

The politics of sincerity

Vice President Biden.
Vice President Biden.REUTERS

As the hopes for one campaign ended, there is another campaign for which the timing is perfect.

Vice President Joe Biden is an exemplary public servant and I am confident that he would make a great president — this is as true today as it was before he announced his decision Wednesday to not undertake a 2016 campaign. I’m sad that Biden is not running, but he did what he felt was right.

At the heart of the Biden’s deliberations, whichever way this was going to go, the vice president’s sincerity could not have been more clear. I’m a proud Democrat, but nobody makes me prouder of my party than Biden. My view is certainly influenced by a decades-old friendship between my father and Biden, but I don’t think that fully covers the significance of his presence in American politics.

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Biden has this effect on many people. His decision not to run, and the way he explained that decision, clarify a simple truth: We need people in politics and government who embody our ideals of compassion and sincerity. If you already work in politics and government, then renewing your commitment to these ideals should be a singular goal.

The reasons people get involved in politics can vary, but the guiding principle should theoretically be a desire to serve others. What sets apart the most successful elected officials, however, is approaching that service in a way that pushes people to work together. This approach paradoxically requires humility and confidence; humility keeping us grounded, and confidence to keep us moving toward the ways to help one another.

Biden embodies this approach. We need more people like him.

If you’ve got ideas that give you something to say, and you fundamentally care about other people, then put yourself out there. If you care about the well-being of others, and your goal is to bring people together, then don’t be afraid of saying the wrong thing. Driving out that fear is important in all walks of life, but it’s elemental to public service. If you think you can spread a message of inclusiveness and good will, then you owe it to all of us to participate in politics and government — especially as a candidate. This need is important for those of us under 25 years old. We need ideas, but we also need camaraderie, earnestness, and compassion. These are not simply the hallmarks of the Democratic Party; these are the hallmarks of self-government.

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We need to rededicate ourselves to these concepts within politics, because we will accomplish so much when we do. Make a commitment to practice the politics of sincerity. This is just a guess, but I’d bet that not many things could make Joe Biden prouder of us.


Will Rasky is a public affairs associate at Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications and has worked on political campaigns, including Joe Kennedy’s campaign for Congress in 2012. Follow him on Twitter @WillRasky.