Former Vice President Joe Biden focused on what he calls a “broken political system” in the U.S. during a keynote address at the Delaware Chamber of Commerce 181st annual dinner Monday night.
During his speech, Biden spoke to a couple hundred business men and women about the current political climate.
“Politics in America is broken—it has gotten too petty, it’s too partisan, it’s personal, it’s ugly,” he said. “And, in order to realize the enormous potential of this country, we have to get back to some basic norms of political behavior.”
Biden said while he was involved in local and state politics in Delaware, politicians worked across the aisle to settle their differences.
“It’s about getting everyone in the room, no matter how tough the problem, no matter how strong the disagreements, and staying in the room until we work it out. They all put Delaware first,” he said. “And there’s no way to run a state or nation without consensus. It’s the nature of the beast. You need consensus under our system.”
He said not only was consensus the “Delaware way,” but it also was the “American way”—until recently.
Biden said there have always been divides in America—from friendships ceasing over differing opinions on the Vietnam War to those who said Biden “must be gay” simply because he supported women’s rights.
But he said back in the day, the political system was still strong despite it all.
“Today, on every major single issue, from same sex marriage, to infrastructure, to foreign policy, there’s a consensus of Americans between 54 percent and 68 percent who agree on every major issue, so why is it not working? The political system is broken,” Biden said.
He also shared his concerns about foreign policy becoming “clannish” and “us versus them.”
“It’s never been, ‘In order for us to succeed the other must lose.’ That is a new burgeoning norm in the history of American foreign policy,” Biden said.
Toward the end of his speech, he touted American achievements in areas such as technology and innovation, but said the country needs to be as proactive as it once was.
“There’s nothing beyond our capacity. When in America have we ever said, ‘I’m not sure we can do that?’ When has that ever occurred in U.S. history? But we’re stuck with that now,” Biden said. “Folks, it’s time to stand up, reestablish decent citizenship participation, and reestablish this moral fabric.”
Biden and former Second Lady Jill Biden also were honored with the Josiah Marvel Cup. Named after first state chamber president between 1913 and 1914, the award is given to Delawareans who make outstanding contributions to the state, community or society.