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  • Writer's pictureRev. David Beckmann

I Fervently Support Joe Biden for President

For the last 30 years, I have worked with administrations, members of Congress, and citizens in both parties to secure help and opportunity for people struggling with hunger. Bread for the World’s bipartisan approach has proved effective in winning change, and it will continue to be important in our divided country. But I am no longer the spokesperson for Bread for the World, and nothing is more important to renewed progress against hunger and poverty than a victory for Vice President Biden and Senator Kamala Harris in November. President Trump is the most dangerous president in U.S. history, while I trust Biden and find his strategy to Build Back Better compelling,

Biden’s top priority as president would be leadership of a nationwide strategy to moderate the spread of COVID-19. Our country has done worse than most other countries in managing the virus, because Trump has downplayed the risk, shifted responsibility to 50 governors, and given them and the nation bad advice about how to respond. All of us have suffered losses, millions of people have been driven into hunger, and 160,000 people have died (disproportionately, people of color and low-income white people).

In recent weeks, Biden has outlined other elements of his Build Back Better plan: investment in U.S. manufacturing and innovation, job-promoting investment in infrastructure and green growth, investment in child care and care for elderly people, and advancing racial equity by empowering small business creation and expansion in economically disadvantaged communities. Biden also plans to expand the Affordable Care Act so that everybody in America gets the medical care they need.

Vice President Biden also supports strengthening the national nutrition programs to address hunger directly, increasing the minimum wage, and expanding tax credits for low-income workers. These three actions, in the context of the Build Back Better program, could take us from today’s very high rate hunger to virtually no hunger within eight years.

Biden would also be effective in rebuilding America’s global leadership, including support for prosperity and poverty reduction worldwide.

I first met Vice President Biden in 2003. He was then chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. I went with two Bread for the World members from Delaware to ask him to help establish the Millennium Challenge Account, which President George W. Bush (who had been skeptical of all foreign aid) had proposed. He agreed, and the two parties worked together - with strong support from Bread for the World - to establish this new and effective approach to foreign aid.

This photo comes from a Bread for the World and Alliance to End Hunger event in December 2018. Biden spoke at length without notes - knowledgeably and passionately - about the policies that would allow us to end hunger in our country and around the world. He came at the invitation of Terry Meehan, and the photo includes Terry and his son Luke.

I agree with Kamala Harris that we now have “a president who cares more about himself than about the people who elected him, a president who is making every challenge we face more difficult.” Trump has certainly done harm to many people struggling with hunger - relentlessly pushing to cut programs that help them, promoting racism, and treating immigrants and refugees harshly. World hunger has been increasing in recent years, mainly because of conflict, climate change, and the slump in international trade -- all problems that Trump has made worse.

I have connected to the Biden campaign through its Believers for Biden program. The campaign’s strong faith outreach staff offers informative Zoom calls featuring people whose faith undergirds their support for Biden’s candidacy. They suggest specific ways that individuals can help get the Biden-Harris ticket elected. They also offer sub-groups for people from different faith traditions.

There are only 88 days left before November 3. We need to achieve a clear and decisive win to discredit the legal and illegal efforts Trump will almost certainly make to reverse the outcome of an electoral defeat. A sweeping defeat may also lead to the rise of a reformed Republican Party.

It’s not enough for us to complain to like-minded people about how bad things are. We need to request vote-by-mail ballots now and vote as soon as possible, so that the postal service and local election officials will have ample time to deliver and count our ballots.

We need to give money to the Biden campaign and good candidates for other offices. People who generously support church and charity often fail to support electoral candidates. But the results of this election will have more effect on poor and vulnerable people than all of our charitable giving for years to come. Since white Christians have been among Trump’s core supporters, the integrity and gospel witness of Christianity in this country are also at stake.

We should encourage like-minded neighbors, friends, and relatives to join us in practical actions to help win this election. And we should also reach out to neighbors, friends, and relatives who may not agree with us to listen carefully and share our point of view. We may influence a vote, and, in any case, we won’t fully succeed in Building Back Better unless we can over time also moderate the sharp divides in our society.


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