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Refreshing: Our New Vice-President

Joe Biden bids farewell to the Senate.

The thoughtfulness and humility demonstrated in this speech give me great pride in our new President and his choice for Vice-President. Joe Biden shares his hopes for the future of the Senate and our nation in this speech.

"This is an incredible place, I say to my colleagues, an incredible place, and it's left me with the conviction that personal relationships are the one thing that unlock the true potential of this place.

Every good thing I have seen happen here, every bold step taken in the 36-plus years I have been here, came not from the application of pressure by interest groups, but through the maturation of personal relationships.

Pressure groups can and are strong and important advocates. But they're not often -- they're not often vehicles for compromise. A personal relationship is what allows you to go after someone hammer and tong on one issue and still find common ground on the next.

It is the grease that lubricates this incredible system we have. It's what allows you to see the world from another person's perspective -- and allows them to take the time to see it from yours.

I'm sure this is not -- this has not been my experience alone -- in this sense, I'm probably preaching to the choir -- to the very men, women who are sitting here on the floor -- you've experienced similar things.

One of the most moving things I ever saw in my life, was on the floor of the United States Senate. The year was 1977, we were about to adjourn for the year. There was a vote cast, and as we all do, we assembled in the well to vote. And one of my personal heroes, Hubert Humphrey, was literally riven with cancer. He died very shortly thereafter. He showed up like Dewey Barton (ph) of Oklahoma -- he showed up every single day, knowing he literally had days to live.

He walked down this aisle, because I was standing back there, I've been in this back row for years with my good friend Fitz Hollings for 34 years, and he walked down the aisle and as he did, Barry Goldwater came in through the doors and was coming down the aisle to vote.

Barry Goldwater and Hubert Humphrey virtually shared nothing in common philosophically. They had a pretty tough campaign in 1964. It got pretty rough. Barry Goldwater saw Hubert and walked up and gave him a big bear hug and kissed him. And Hubert Humphrey kissed him back.

And they stood there, in tight embrace, for minutes, both crying. It brought the entire Senate to tears. But to me -- to me -- it was the mark -- the story of the history of this place. Hubert loved it here. He wants that night, quote, 'The Senate is a place filled with goodwill and good intentions. And if the road to hell is paved with them, then this is a pretty good detour.'

Friendship and death are great equalizers. Death will seek all of us at some point, but we must choose to seek friendship. Our ability to work together with people with whom we have a real and deep and abiding disagreements, especially in these consequential times, I believe is going to determine whether or not we succeed in restoring America. I think it is literally that fundamentally basic."

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
onemeatball
Jan. 20th, 2009 06:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you for posting this. Is that link active? I want to pass it on.
silverdee
Jan. 22nd, 2009 04:42 am (UTC)
I fixed it and the link is still working. I really am impressed by this speech.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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