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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

'A voice for the voiceless'
Kiley O’Brien ’25, Assistant Features Editor • July 18, 2024
Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Stories from Wilmington

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ILLUSTRATION: CASEY WOOD ’23/THE HAWK

My experience at Biden’s election speech

For five long days I, along with countless other Americans, was glued to my TV for 24-hour election coverage. I witnessed a red-mirage of initial in-person votes, the late surge of blue mail-in ballots and unhinged press conferences from U.S. President Donald Trump. Then, on Nov. 7 at 11:25 a.m., the Associated Press called the presidential election for Joe Biden. 

The call itself was expected, as the outstanding mail-in ballots that had taken days to count were coming in droves for the former vice president. However, just seeing the notification on my phone evoked a multitude of emotions; I felt relief as the marathon was over, pride knowing I had voted for the first time and surrealness because I was aware of how historic this moment was. 

I wasn’t alone in my enthusiasm for the election; my entire family, even my 14-year-old brother, was on edge the entire week. So, as the election was finally over, my mom had a brilliant idea. She rushed over to me and said, “Hey, do you want to go to Wilmington?”

Just like that, my mother and I were in the car on our way to watch President-elect Biden give his acceptance speech. We walked  through the modern and beautiful town of Wilmington, Delaware to reach what we thought would be the president-elect’s speech stage. 

My mother and I made the trip knowing that it was likely we wouldn’t be allowed in to see the president-elect, so we weren’t surprised when we were told we needed a pass to watch the speech in person. We were absolutely content to be among the supporters awaiting the speech that would be shown on two large screens. 

Then, it was time to wait. We walked around to find a good spot and landed on an area close to the screen and the road where the president-elect and vice president-elect would later drive on. This decision was the best we made all night, not because of the location, but because of the people that were there. 

While we waited, my mother and I struck up multiple conversations with some extraordinary people. One woman had worked on Biden’s first Senate campaign when the now 77-year-old was just 29. This woman and her daughter had pictures with the president-elect, incredible stories about his initial days in Washington D.C. and an unparalleled enthusiasm for the man. I later went on to find out that they had one of those exclusive passes to see Biden give his speech in person, but they gave it up to be with the people-a true testament to their values. 

After hearing many remarkable stories, I learned a lot about what I believe was at the heart of Biden’s campaign: his character. Many know the story of Biden’s life; he is a man who has experienced tragedy that no human should ever endure. Events like the death of his children and spouse shape Biden’s character. Even so, on that cold night in Wilmington, I got to learn about Biden, the local man. 

Residents of Wilmington would tell me that they see the former vice president and his family all the time, whether it is when they are food shopping or getting a haircut. One woman even said she normally gets her nails done next to First Lady-elect Jill Biden. 

Among all these stories was a common narrative: the kindness and care of America’s next president. He was described as having time for everybody, whether it be for conversation, a picture or a mere hello. Apparently, he is out and about conversing so much that the people of Wilmington just call him ‘Joe’.

Stories like these don’t make national news, but they can say a lot about a man who is so often seen on a macro-level. Not only does President-elect Biden convey a message of empathy and decency to the nation, but he practices it. Say what you want about Biden’s foreign policy, economic plan or strategy to tackle climate change, but there is one thing you can never take away from him: his decency. And that, I believe, is a trait that will be welcomed in the Oval Office. 

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