Vice President Joe Biden, in seeking to draw upon our better angels, promises that he will be a president of the light, not of the darkness.
In so many ways, that line resonates with me.
In June 2004, I woke up in a hospital room at Medical City Dallas, after spending four days in a medically-induced coma. I had just completed my 19th surgery, three months removed from my 17th birthday. While most rising high school seniors were working summer jobs, hanging out with friends, or planning for their last year in school before college, I found myself in my personal purgatory — a place not good, but also not bad.
Waking up this time was different, though. While experiencing a familiar pain and getting used to a wired-shut jaw, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the magnificent Texas light pouring through my windows. It was a brilliant day, a brightness that anyone who grew up on the Great Plains knows.
I was immediately comforted by the light bathing the entire room. As I recovered over the following days, I became contemplative and determined.
Archetypes have that effect, though. The light, for me, reinforced two central themes of my life: optimism is infectious and love can conquer all. In those moments, that light represented the promise of a better tomorrow, of all that is good in this world and the peace that comes through love.
Growing up and dealing with the complications of hemifacial microsomia, a degenerative birth defect that affects one out of every 10,000 births, was not easy, but I learned early on to make this journey my own.
Years later, when I came out as gay to my parents, I remembered how impactful it had been for me to lean into my truth and embrace all of the qualities that make up who I am. My parents, born into religious households in the segregated South, reciprocated with even more love and acceptance, thus reinforcing everything I had come to believe.
Now, I’m sure you’re wondering, what does this all have to do with Vice President Biden and my support for him?
Being drawn to the light is a feeling that extends beyond a moment. As fundamental as the human desire to associate with one another, it is also a way to approach life itself. When the Vice President talks about “restoring the soul of the nation” and being a president of the light, he is explicitly drawing upon our collective desire for a just and inclusive society — a society where we embrace cultural differences and policies that are equitable.
Biden’s policy proposals double down on that desire.
As president, he has promised to fight for universal health care by strengthening Obamacare, sign the Equality Act into law, fight for LGBTQ+ rights here at home and abroad, fight the epidemic of violence against transgender people, tackle the effects of climate change, address systemic racism and injustice, and rebuild an economy that actually works for everyone.
I support Vice President Biden because I believe our government should reflect the best of us, not the worst. Under Donald Trump, we have been exposed to constant division and hate. And, regrettably, more than 217,000 of our fellow Americans are dead because of his mismanagement and incompetence.
But, in 17 days, we have an opportunity to push our country into the light — and I’m beyond ready for it.
Reggie Greer is the LGBTQ+ Engagement Director for the Biden-Harris Campaign.