An archetype is an expression of our humanity identifiable in ancient cultures worldwide. The Wise Old Man archetype appears as a mature man imbued with wisdom accrued from a lifetime of living. He is aware of lessons learned from the trials and errors of a long life. Cultures often see him as exotic(Medicine Men, Wizards, Healers) and magnetic to those drawn to him. He warns of dangers and can offer protection against those dangers. He is skilled in kindness, helpfulness, trustworthiness and reminds us of the appropriate ways to do things.
Joe Biden might not be our Archetypal Grandfather, but he can learn.
From the political lens, the older man, who has examined his life and the abiding lessons learned from self-reflection, has to complete the process of integrating his masculine drive to seek power for personal gain. If achieved, he becomes capable of mastering service to humanity without the impulse to serve his instinct for personal power.
As a lifetime role model, Jimmy Carter brings to us the culmination of a life lived humanistically and spiritually. In this stage of maturity, one desires to serve life in all its manifestations.
He stands as our most remarkable living example of a Politician who skillfully grew into his spirituality during and after his Presidency. He balanced challenges, deliberated, brought order to complexity, and inspired practical approaches toward legislative and humanistic obstacles. He did not recite his past sorrows to connect himself empathetically to the suffering of others.
Does Joe Biden demonstrate the benefits of his maturity, as does President Carter? Has he learned to transform his pain from personal loss into deft political skills to identify transformational yet successful legislation? Is Joe Bidens' Grandfatherly Wisdom even a good fit for today's political climate?
Joe Biden is a good man. His faith in and love for America is unabashed: "This is America, for God's sake."
However, America is not just a possibility waiting for a push by some wise older person in a leftward direction. America is also a prisoner of its materialism, loss of wellbeing, loss of understanding the threads of our common humanity, and loss of ability to move on from the limits of the culture they identify as their own.
America is in a co-dependent relationship with the Internet, namely Social Media. The Internet provides and supplies 'truth' for 'our' suspicions. It manipulates information that short circuits our thinking, blocks our learning potential, and segregates us from life experience. The feeling nature of social media compels our passions, not our reasoning skills. What I notice as a consequence is a less reasoned commitment for action and more internet clicks for our thoughts minus the 'thinking.'
Is Joe Biden aware of this alteration of our shared reality? Can he speak to it and tap into the reality of Americans who live in this tech world reality and get through to them? Can he compel their attention?
Joe Biden does not speak forthrightly to the realities of individuals who struggle for their fundamental wellbeing in a world that undermines fulfillment of our human potential.
However, Mr. Biden needs to identify those thoughts and struggles and speak personally to struggling people from his podium. Here is what I imagine he could say to White People( amongst others):
We are the descendants of the Many. We celebrate our countries of origins, but once we become American, we are of the Many. Many people struggle with food insecurity, lack of income, the opportunity to thrive, and resentment. Many of you value your birthright. Many of you fear losing it. (many of you have). Many of you have watched your wealth dissipate and lose its value. You have every reason to be angry, bitter, and isolated from your political heritage. You feel you have lost your birthright, lost your status in this culture of Many. You think you have to defend yourself with Guns and make a hard stand for the right to keep and bear these arms as the only way to stay alive and pass on your 'inherited' rights. Many of you experience an economic system that undermines your right to benefit from farming, manufacturing, small business, and your right to earn a living wage. You may be ill from frustration and the lack of ability to pass on a lifetime of personal wealth to your children. Many of you see others benefiting or, at the very least, not interested in your distress. Many of you believe this system wants you out of the way of 'progress.'
Some politicians want to speak for your struggles and tap into your resentments as a source of political power.
People who are not getting what they need (while others appear to be benefiting) must be acknowledged, brought out of the shadows, and included in community-based solutions.
White People who struggle deserve to have a conversation with the Many who can identify with the same concerns.
All Politics are local. Joe Biden does not express these concerns to the Many. Still, he can begin by holding town halls throughout the country, expressing his concerns, and offering solutions for engaging the Many in democratic processes that communicate our human reality and engage them in solutions that manifest into actions.
Joe Biden needs to be the Grandfather for All and welcome the People into the process of participation and action. He has the wisdom of age and the resources of his Presidency. Go to work, Joe - speak to the needs, offer practical ideas, listen to what the People know, and then problem-solve together. Open yourself to a changing America that reflects participation, transparent views, and actions that inspire local involvement under the umbrella of inclusivity and democratic lifestyle choices.
The Wise Old Man, Joe, warns and acts to clear the impediments for renewal. Acknowledge mistakes or unwanted outcomes from your decisions, press your populace to problem-solve solutions, suggest and incentivize ways to capture local attention. Wise Old Men assume a role in the process, not the outcome.