Riding Out The Storm

I don’t know why the news of Steve Bannon’s arrest set me off. I guess we’re all operating with a short fuse these days.

But when I heard that our president’s former chief strategist was charged with defrauding donors in a border wall funding campaign, I was incredulous. If convicted, he would be guilty of ripping off the very people he so smugly claims to champion. How despicable.

“Only the best people…,” remember that boast? People such as Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos, Michael Cohen. Each charged with a crime; each convicted? Yes, that’s quite a cast—if you’re building a crime syndicate.

In serious need of stress relief, I turned to a trusted outlet—my bike. I’m sure it will come as no surprise that I’m riding a lot these days.

My route of choice is the Markell Trail via the Wilmington Riverfront. After all, the Riverwalk is only seconds from my office.

But in my haste to escape, I had forgotten about the frenzy of activity taking place along the Riverfront. Ironically, it was also the final day of the Democratic National Convention, and hours later Delaware’s very own Joe Biden would be making his acceptance speech as the Party’s presidential nominee in the Chase Center, a building I’ve visited countless times and ride or drive past daily.

The swarm of logistics crews, media and security had me concerned that I wouldn’t be able to pass through the area. Fortunately, I wasn’t stopped because the ride gave me time to gain control of my combating émotions:

Anger: That around 40% of the country is OK with this shit.

Pride: That my city, which has endured more than its share of bad PR (some deserved; much overstated), would get some positive national exposure.

Anxiety: That Biden would stumble, lose track of his thoughts, reinforce the perception that he had lost more than a step.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t in favor of Biden becoming the nominee. I didn’t even want him to run. Nothing personal, he’d served the country well. But couldn’t we nominate someone more representative of the future, not the past?

Water under the bridge. Biden was the nominee, the Democratic Party had spent three days making a good case why, and now it was up to the 77-year-old to close the deal in the biggest speech of his life. Hell, I was nervous—and I was watching from my couch.

But after the DNC set the stage with impactful videos displaying Biden’s empathy and enormous capacity to overcome tragedy; after 13-year-old Brayden Harrington revealed to the nation how Biden helped him in his battle with stuttering (Biden has had his own battles with the speech disorder); Delaware’s favorite son knocked it out of the park. How fitting that the video screen used for the drive-in watch party was positioned so Frawley Stadium served as the backdrop.

People are saying it’s the best speech of Biden’s career. You’ll get no argument here. I do hope, however, that come Nov. 3 people will be saying a whole lot more.

Character matters. Ethics matter. Bestowing political power is a supreme responsibility.

For the president and for us.

— Jerry duPhily

Jerry duPhily
Since 1988, Out & About has informed our audience of entertainment options in Greater Wilmington through a monthly variety magazine. Today, that connection has expanded to include social networking, a weekly newsletter, and a comprehensive website. We also create, manage, and sponsor local events.