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Foreword Joe Tydings and I never got to work together in the Senate. He served a few years ahead of me. But his six years in office showed him to be a man I would have been proud to fight alongside—a man of principle who, to this day, cares deeply about the direction of our country. Joe and I come from different backgrounds. We took different paths to the Senate. Despite those differences, however, our politics ended up in the same place. The values that drive Joe, and that are on display throughout these pages, are the same values that have always animated my passions. When I think back to my early years in the Senate, I was building on groundwork that Joe had helped to lay—from opposing the senseless carnage of the war in Vietnam to expanding civil rights protections for all Americans. We both believe in standing up against the abuse of power to ensure that every American gets a fair shot. We are both committed to the basic principle that every single person is entitled to be treated with dignity. We both understand that the point of public service is to make a difference in people’s lives. Joe also embodies a code that I’ve lived by my entire political life— it’s the advice that I give to everyone thinking about running for office— decide what’s worth losing over. Joe brought a progressive foresight to a range of difficult issues of the 1960s, and he demonstrated genuine courage to stand up for what he knew to be right, even when he knew it might hurt him politically. So while the Senate lost Joe Tydings after only one term, the American people continued to benefit from the leadership he demonstrated in office for decades afterwards. In reading this memoir, you can’t miss the salient parallels to challenges facing our nation today. The issues on which Joe staked his Senate career a half-century ago are the same ones that still require our advocacy and attention. Protecting voting rights. Safeguarding our x FOREWORD environment. Pushing back against the forces of inequality that are hollowing out the middle class. Standing up for common-sense gun safety laws. These are also the challenges that our broken politics are making it harder to address constructively. Joe remembers, as I do, a time when the other party was merely the opposition, not the enemy. When members of Congress could disagree and debate and still share a meal together. When we talked to one another and even counted among our friends those whom we opposed on policy. We could question the other’s judgment without questioning their motive. Joe tells a story of our American past that is both engaging and thought provoking. But perhaps the most striking piece of this book is the poignant letter Joe pens to our future—to his grandchildren and, by extension, an entire generation of new leaders. Like me, Joe was inspired by the example of John and Bobby Kennedy and their call to service. As young men, we sought the chance to get involved and translate our ideals into reality. Today, however, as Joe notes, we are seeing our shared calling “slandered and dishonored” and young people increasingly turning away from public service. Today’s young people are the most tolerant, capable, and engaged generation our country has ever produced, and we desperately need more of them to make the choice to get involved in the political process. There’s no other profession in the world that allows you to do so much good for so many people. And I hope, as Joe does, that this book inspires more young people to get involved. Run for office. Ruffle feathers. Go against the grain. Whatever challenges we face, Americans never give in to hopelessness or helplessness. We are a nation of possibilities. And I believe today, asIalwayshave,thatweholdinourhandsthepowertoshapethecourse of history.That’s another thing Joe and I share—a deeply rooted faith in this country and the fact that there’s nothing we can’t overcome if we remember who we are as a nation and what we’ve always striven to be. Joe Biden 47th Vice President of the United States ...


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