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Forum, Aug. 31: Coverage of Biden visit unfair

Published: 8/30/2019 10:00:13 PM
Modified: 8/30/2019 10:00:05 PM
Coverage of Biden visit unfair

We found your coverage of former Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to the Upper Valley misleading and unfair (“Biden prioritizes climate change,” Aug. 24). We particularly cite the subheadline: “Ex-vice president … ponders hypothetical Obama assassination.”

Biden’s reference to President Barack Obama was said in the context of recalling traumatic events in our country, such as the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy. Your headline misleads the reader and seems an egregious misrepresentation of a short, passing remark.

We attended the Croydon event and the vice president’s comment about “rich people being as patriotic as poor people” was in reference to a plan to finance some of his health care proposals by imposing a tax on higher income earners. He was highlighting his belief that wealthy Americans love their country and would be willing to support it financially. It was not a “problematic comment” as your article claimed.

The citing of several other such “problematic comments” seemed to us to be poorly imagined examples of a self-fulfilling prophecy about Biden.

We look to the Valley News to provide us with more thoughtful summaries of what leading Democratic and Republican presidential candidates have to say. During this critical political time, it is essential that you do that, both for us and for the country.



Biden story was reprehensible

I found the story about former Vice President Joe Biden’s event at Dartmouth College to be reprehensible (“Biden prioritizes climate change: Ex-vice president talks of wooing younger voters, ponders hypothetical Obama assassination,” Aug. 24). This was one of the most powerful political events by a presidential candidate that this registered Republican has attended in 27 years of living here. Moreover, Biden’s discussion of the “hypothetical Obama assassination” was no gaffe — it was one of the most powerful sections of his discussion with voters.

Biden was discussing when he decided that gay marriage was acceptable. He explained that it was because of something his father said to him just after they saw two male lawyers kiss outside a courthouse in Delaware in the 1960s. Biden’s father told him it was OK because they loved each other.

Biden then turned to a larger exposition about civil rights and the 1960s. He was trying to explain to the students how politically charged the times were. As part of that, he described how two people he idolized at the time, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., were both assassinated. To explain how he felt, he asked to the students to imagine how they would have felt if Obama had been assassinated during the primaries in 2007. This was one of the most powerful parts of his talk. I was spellbound.

If this is a gaffe, I want more gaffes. I want politicians who can make people feel the real emotions of life. And it would be very useful to our discourse if newspapers actually provided context and nuance, instead of simply reporting random sentences.



Ruling could impact elections

On Aug. 20, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled that Colorado’s presidential electors do not have to vote according to the results of their state’s election process, but may vote any way they want. This could mean that national elections could be decided by the votes of a small number of electors appointed to the Electoral College.

This decision is expected to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. I would recommend contacting your representatives in Congress to voice your opinion.



Better tactic for fighting back

The people who are attacked and insulted by President Donald Trump often do not fight back smartly. They usually defend themselves on his terms rather than fighting back on theirs. That is not a good tactic in many spheres of life.

For example, Greenland. The Danish prime minister could have immediately insisted that Trump return the Virgin Islands to Denmark for the paltry sum that the U.S. paid for them in 1917. The Danish people and their Parliament rejected the proposed sale. The U.S. threatened military action. The pro-sellers had to cajole, threaten and finally wheel into Parliament ill legislators to barely provide the votes necessary to approve the sale. And Mexico could insist that Trump give back New Mexico and Arizona. Then he would have no problems on those borders. And what about northern Maine, which is populated significantly by Acadian French? It should be part of bilingual New Brunswick. Canada should insist that Trump sell it.

And when Trump insults the appearance and words of others, they could note his flabby appearance and his limited vocabulary and knowledge of grammar. And they could comment that the patriotism and toughness he likes to display seem to be phony, as evidenced by his dodging military service five times when his country called him.




We encourage Valley News readers to write to the Forum to comment on matters of general public interest. We publish letters regardless of their politics, providing they are in good taste and address a subject of broad concern. To keep the Forum open to all, we request that you keep letters to about 350 words, and that you write no more often than once every two weeks. Please email letters to You may also send a letter using the form at our website, (click on “Opinion,” and then “Submit a Letter”). If you cannot send email or use the website, address letters to Forum, Valley News, P.O. Box 877, White River Junction, Vt. 05001. In all cases, please be sure to include your name and address, along with a daytime telephone number (for confirmation purposes only). All letters are subject to editing.

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