The best reflection of Joe Biden in film

Joe Biden is presented to the general public as a man of good breeding, intelligent, knowledgeable, and competent.  Biden's simplicity is mistaken for profoundness, his years at the Senate as proof of his experience, and his befriending of billionaires and foreign nations as nothing more than political astuteness.  Yet whenever I see, hear, and listen to Joe Biden as he attempts with great effort to be coherent, understandable, and believable, I am always reminded of the character Chauncey Gardiner from the movie Being There.

In Being There, Chance introduces himself as "Chance, the gardener" and is misunderstood as having said "Chauncey Gardiner."  Chauncey can best be describe as a simple and unassuming man at peace with himself.  As the movie unfolds, we learn that Chauncey has lived all of his sheltered life inside the townhouse and walled garden of a rich recluse (perhaps he is his son).  He knows what he needs to know for his daily routine: where his bedroom and bathroom are and how to tend the plants of the garden.  His meals are produced by Louise, the cook.  The movie provides no diagnosis of his condition.  He is able to respond to given cues and can, within limits, adapt and learn.  Chauncey has mastered the art of sound bites from incessantly watching TV commercials.  Sound familiar?

 Through a series of benign misunderstandings, each of which builds on the previous one, Chauncey is taken into the home of Ben, a dying millionaire, and soon the rich man grows to treasure his reassuring friend.  Chauncey is introduced by Ben to the president of the United States (Jack Warden), becomes an unofficial adviser, and soon is being interviewed on television, where he shares his seemingly profound insights, which are nothing more than sound bites that Chauncey remembers from watching years of TV commercials.

"Folks, my name is Joe Biden, and I'm Jill Biden's husband and I'm Kamala's running mate," he quipped during his second campaign stop in Georgia.  "Y'all think I'm kidding, don't you?"

In Being There, the hero (Chauncey) survives a series of challenges he doesn't understand, using words that are both universal and meaningless.  Chauncey manages to avoid being pinned down to anything specific by simply avoiding what he doesn't comprehend.  Chauncey's use of slogans reveals how superficial public utterances can be, and because he is middle-aged, well groomed, and dressed in tailored suits, he is automatically presumed to be a person of substance.  The movie argues that if you look right, sound right, speak in platitudes, and have powerful friends, you can go far in our society.  By the end of the film, Chauncey is being seriously proposed as a presidential candidate.  This has Joe Biden written all over it.

President Trump and the Republican Party frequently portray Joe Biden as a "Trojan horse" for the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and have suggested that Kamala Harris will actually be in charge of the country should Biden win the election on Tuesday.  Joe Biden's mental state and proneness to verbal gaffes, mispronunciations, forgetfulness, and outright confusion continue to be ignored by the complacent media when it comes to reporting on Joe Biden.  The media have entirely avoided the issue of Joe Biden's mental capacity, and that's despite the media's round-the-clock reporting following Trump's election in 2016 in which the media questioned President Donald Trump's sanity.  In 2017, USA Today had a headline questioning Trump's mental health, as did Senator Bob Corker.  Former Intel chief James Clapper also talked about Trump's "fitness" to serve.  Yet when it comes to Joe Biden, his mental capacity is off the board and a non-starter with all the major media outlets.  The media have been ignoring and/or covering up Biden's obvious mental decline for more than a year now.

Joe Biden was quoted: "By the way, the 20, the 200 million, the 200,000 people that have died on his watch, they — have many of those and have survived?" Biden elaborated the next day during his train trip through Ohio and Pennsylvania.

"Last night I and I said when I got in the race we're in a battle for the soul of this country — can you all see me or should I turn this this way a little bit and um and uh you know I uh you know Trump's uh constant disregard and unwillingness to speak to COVID and the fact that 205 million people, 205 thousand have died."

"President keeps talking about what's he call this uh uh he has some name for our platform uh I can't remember it's it's uh — "Manifesto?" the Democrat stenographer with a press pass helpfully suggested.

 Chauncey Gardiner is the epitome of what can happen when a person lives only in the moment with no real understanding of context and meaning.  Chauncey was limited in the ways of the world, yet he made vague comments that others, in high places, interpreted as insightful with hidden meanings.  In reality, they were just musings of a semi-literate person.  The Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, seems to inhabit a life full of blissful ignorance, and for this, he is being embraced by the liberal and progressive media.  As this charade reaches its climax on Election Day, more and more of the American people see through Joe Biden's empty words.  Chauncey Gardiner and Joe Biden are two sides of the same coin.  Sometimes art imitates life, and sometimes it's life that is imitating art.

Ron grew up in the South Bronx of New York City, making Aliyah in 1980.  Served for 25 years in the IDF as a mental health field officer in operational units.  Prior to retiring was commander of the Central Psychiatric Clinic for Reserve Solders at Tel-Hashomer.  Since retiring has been involved in strategic consultancy to NGOs and communities in the Gaza Envelope on resiliency projects to assist first responders and communities.  Ron has written numerous articles for outlets in Israel and abroad focusing on Israel and the Jewish world.  To contact: medconf@gmail.com.  Website: www.ronjager.com.

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.