Beau Biden: Leading the March in North Carolina

Last Saturday, beneath a clear blue sunny sky, Delaware’s Attorney General Beau Biden—who is also a commissioned officer in his home state’s National Guard—spoke in support of the Democratic ticket to a gathering of former warriors and their families at Fayetteville, North Carolina’s Veterans Park.

Prior to introducing the featured speaker, the 15th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, John Estrada sounded off firmly, “President Obama and Vice President Biden have been very consistent in demonstrating their support for active duty and deployed servicemen, their families and all post-service veterans. At the same time, Governor Mitt Romney can best be described as consistently inconsistent. For the 18 months leading up to the Republican convention, he admittedly became more and more ‘severely conservative’. Since his nomination, Governor Romney has been portraying himself as more moderate with every passing day. The truth is this—if you look at Mitt Romney’s record, while serving as governor of Massachusetts he cut veterans’ benefits and tried his best to eliminate the veterans’ preference for government jobs. If he somehow gets himself elected president, I have no doubt he will consistently treat veterans the same way.”

The aggrieved audience applauded in angry agreement.

Following his introduction, the number one son of America’s number two elected official made three vital points in his bid to help his dad keep his job four more years.

Squinting against the glare of the autumn sun, Biden smiled and began, “As the proud son of a wonderful Vice President, I want to thank you all for being here, and encourage each of you to take advantage of early voting so that Barack Obama and Joe Biden can capture North Carolina again, as they did in 2008, only this time by a landslide!”

Major Beau Biden, who served a year in Iraq as a JAG officer, went on to tell the modest-but-militant crowd of former warriors and their proud family members what they clearly already understood: there is only one option on the presidential ballot with a proven record of supporting service members, looking out for their families, and honoring as sacred the benefits promised to generations of veterans, past, present and future.

“The sad truth is that as of today, in a time of war on two fronts that has already lasted ten years, 6,539—and I do have that written down because it’s not just a number—6,539 of our nation’s finest servicemembers will never return home alive. More than 2.3 million of us have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, representing less than one percent of America’s population. There are 22 million veterans today, nationwide, with nearly eight hundred thousand living right here, in North Carolina. There are very major differences in how the Democrats and Republicans would treat our nations past defenders. Paul Ryan’s proposed budget calls for a voucher system that would cut 11 billion dollars—that’s billion, with a B—from the VA budget. That’s just not right. Eleven billion dollars represents 85 percent of the total health care needs for our returning forces.”

Biden paused, shook his head, muttered something that sounded like “malarkey,” and continued.

“It gets worse. Just last month, the United States Senate failed to approve the proposed Veterans Jobs Bill that would have helped train and place unemployed former servicemen into non-military jobs. The bill was defeated by just two votes—and all forty of the senators who voted against the bill were Republicans. That’s not right, either. Nor were the words of Mitt Romney, when he described 53% of Americans as ‘makers’ and 47% as ‘takers’. Every time I repeat those words I can’t believe they were spoken by a man who is running for president. Included among that 47% are our nation’s disabled veterans—and the thousands of service members serving in Afghanistan today—simply because they are not subjected to paying taxes while at war. Those people do not consider themselves entitled, or dependent, and they surely do not, as Mitt Romney said, ‘lack responsibility.’”

After pausing for the righteously-indignant applause to subside, Biden also reminded those present that among the promises already fulfilled by the Obama Administration are the end of the war in Iraq and the bringing to justice of Osama bin Laden, killed last year on May 1, during a daring top secret raid by Navy Seal Team Six, across the Afghanistan border into Pakistan.

The dynamic duo of Biden and Estrada then led a march of mostly-able-bodied veterans to Cumberland County’s Board of Elections. The sight of the marchers—some limping, many carrying signs reading ‘Veterans for Obama’—inspired scores of passing motorists to honk their horns and holler pro-Obama words of encouragement.

Not a negative word was heard.

As one of the limpers who marched cane-assisted, when my fellow veterans who had not yet voted ducked inside, I was happy to stand aside catching my breath while Beau spoke with a reporter I didn’t know.

Hoping for an interview, I knew it would be enough to say “Tell your Dad I said thank you.”

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