Former Vice President Joe Biden is known to be a jokester.
But his speech Wednesday to Temple students carried a heavier note.
A captivated audience filled Temple’s Performing Arts Center Wednesday night as Biden addressed the issues of leadership, getting youth involved in their communities and politics, and duty.
While former Vice President Biden never openly addressed President Trump or the ongoing political turmoil, he did reference a teaching by Plato.
“The penalty good people pay for not getting involved in politics is people governing them who are worse than themselves.”
The former Vice President listed those who have inspired him with great leadership and duty including the late Nelson Mandela, Senator John McCain, and President Barrack Obama. The latter drew great cheers from the crowd after admitting that “all the memes are basically true” and that “he [Obama] made the first friendship bracelet.”
Biden also spoke about his late son, Beau Biden, who passed away after a courageous battle with stage 4 glioblastoma in 2015 at the age of 46. Biden, a major in the Delaware Army National Guard, was a bronze star recipient and a former Attorney General of Delaware.
Vice President Biden recalled how Beau gave up his seat as Attorney General to serve in Iraq, telling his father “it’s my duty.”
“My son lived the values he annunciated,” said Biden, a big theme of the night. He recalled his father’s mantra: “Your word is your bond – it defines who you are.”
“It’s about being able to put yourself in the other person’s place it’s about being willing to share credit and give recognition…being willing to submit yourself to criticism and ridicule…being willing to take a chance to change the culture…”
Biden also devoted a large portion of his speech to women and protecting them from sexual harassment and assault. As Vice President, Biden spearheaded the “It’s On Us” campaign that aims to end sexual assault on college campuses. Before that, in 1994, Biden authored the Violence Against Women Act.
“Women hold up half the sky,” Biden said, receiving loud cheers from the audience.
“The greatest sin of all that can be committed is the abuse of power – economical power political power psychological power physical power.”
Before he left the stage, Biden made sure to give a shoutout to his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, sharing an anecdote with the audience about his grandparents. “My grandfather would say ‘keep the faith Joey,’ and my grandma would say ‘no Joey, spread the faith’ – go out and spread the faith!”
The speech, which ran for just over an hour, was put on by Temple’s Main Campus Programming Board, who traditionally hosts a spring celebrity speaker. Last week, students spent hours outside TPAC waiting for tickets, enduring rain, heavy winds, and even a severe thunderstorm warning.