Dear Joe

Dear Joe

Hi, my younger friend. Here’s some advice from an elder, an old lady just a couple of years your senior.

Things will get worse, not better. They will never get better.

Hear me out: as frail as we both have become, the future doesn’t bode well for either of us. We cannot expect to enjoy increases in vigor, either physical or or mental. We forget things, names, people, facts, tasks. Our hearing and vision and stamina are on the decline. They’ll never come back to what they were. We’ll wear hearing aids, have cataract surgery, start to use a cane or walker. Regaining the gait of just a few years ago simply will not happen. Stairs, and even curbs, will look menacing, with going down even harder than going up. We certainly wouldn’t want an audience of millions to see we are intimidated by walking down the steps on an airplane. While we wish we could project strength, it’s harder than ever.

It’s not unexpected. It’s something that happens to all those fortunate enough to survive to a certain age. The 80s are not growth years, if you are lucky enough to reach them. And when we try to deceive onlookers by attempting to speed the pace, we look like we are threatened with falling. In fact we are threatened with falling.

I’m writing to you now because I think you need to hear from a peer who has no vested interest in your political career. I am a mere citizen, an ancient one, who has lots of progeny for whom I’d like to see America become the fulfillment of the dreams of its founders. Joe, you and I have to go to pasture. I never aspired to the heights you have attained, and you need to be very proud. You’ve had a challenging life, and you’ve prevailed. The time has come to reap your rewards and become an elder statesman. This cannot go on. Many of your friends already have abandoned you, not because they love you less but because you leave them no choice.

Joe, please retire now. Today. You need to make that sacrifice for the good of this country we love. I understand the logistics will be daunting and the blow to your ego even more so. But you must save our land. You must do it, and you certainly know why.

I was very dubious when I heard that you were surrounding yourself with advisers at Camp David for a full week of debate preparation. I couldn’t understand how the nation would even function with its leader sequestered. And I couldn’t fathom how you needed to learn all these things which were supposedly implicit in your job. But when I saw your performance, I knew instantly, literally, and actually within the first minute, that we, your fellow Americans, were not being told the truth for the last three and a half years. All that time you were seen only in snippets. You spoke only with the teleprompter. The very well-received State of the Union was a made-for-TV event, the teleprompter providing the words, which you didn’t write and were only asked to read.

I thought it was absurd to praise you for reading well. The bar was set way too low.

You were always surrounded by younger and more able-bodied advisers, either visible or not, but always it was they who set things up so you would never be interviewed without the fence protecting you. Until the debate! That brought everything crumbling down.

You couldn’t do what the debate required of you. It was a disaster. Your young advisers were clueless about the relentless power of aging.

Don’t worry. I couldn’t have done it either. Not at this advanced age. Only people far younger than you or I could possibly imagine that people our age could be a fount of honest facts, unfabricated, with no notes, no prompter, no advisers. What were they possibly thinking? That there would be a Divine intervention? They gave you a totally impossible task, and none of our contemporaries would have done any better, Joe. Not a one!

But it’s incumbent on you to save our country and even to save the entire world. You’re a great man, and your presidency was a period of glory for you and those, like me, who elected you. Things will not get better now. It’s as hard for me to accept that fact personally as it is for you, but for you the stakes are higher, tremendously higher.

Because, dear Joe, if you don’t retire immediately, you will be remembered forever as the leading cause of the election win of Donald J. Trump. I know that is not the legacy you would choose, but it is a guaranteed outcome of your continuing to run for the presidency. Please do not think anyone will ever forget the debate and the spewing of lies from the other podium, from Trump. You committed to truth. He committed to untruth. Simple as that! He never made an attempt to answer questions, and he was never fact-checked. His overt dishonesty should not be rewarded. He is a criminal, not a leader. You, who are the embodiment of idealism and honesty, need to bow out now to keep the evil one from prevailing.

You must not allow Trump’s victory. Please, I beg you! As a Jew, I implore you to protect our people from him. In the absence of honest idealism, we Jews have much to fear. Please, go in peace, my friend, but go at once!

The debate was a travesty from two perspectives. First, it revealed to our country’s voters how fragile you have become, as I have, as a result of the normal aging process. This fragility will continue its downward slide, accelerating with increasing speed. That is not a time to be elected president, and you will not succeed. You can tell the world that you are fit and alert and healthy, but when they see for themselves that this is fallacious, you will cede the election to the monster Trump, a shyster his entire life, a true egomaniac who cares only for himself and who will take vengeance on anyone in his way. He should never ever be elected to any office anywhere. He’s a weapon, and it is terrifying to bring him renewed power.

Please, the election is truly in your hands, Joe Biden, President Joe Biden. Do what you must, but do it now, today. Nothing less than the future of this great nation is at stake.

Rosanne Skopp of West Orange is a wife, mother of four, grandmother of 14, and great-grandmother of seven. She is a graduate of Rutgers University and a dual citizen of the United States and Israel. She is a lifelong blogger, writing blogs before anyone knew what a blog was! She welcomes email at

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