Mark Donahue writes from Baltimore: During a fundraising expedition in Maryland over the weekend, Vice President Biden stopped at a summer camp a few miles outside Baltimore and visited with dozens of kids aged 5 to 13 years old. The children were visibly excited to share part of their afternoon with the vice president with many of them getting autographs and taking pictures with the affable second in command. The vice president played an impromptu game of tag with the kids before he joined the children under a big willow tree where camp counselors served sugar-free cookies and Red Bull. After he finished his cookies the vice president took his place behind a podium that secret service members had set up and he spoke with the kids about their future.
“His speech started off pretty routine,” said camp counselor Sandii Barlos. “The vice president asked the kids what they wanted to be when they grew up and as one would expect, many of the boys said they wanted to be baseball players, race car drivers and astronauts and the girls said they wanted to be ballerinas or famous singers. Some of the kids said they wanted to be doctors or lawyers.”
It was at that point that Biden asked if any of the kids had a desire to work at a secure government job that they could not get fired from. His question provoked a few giggles but no one appeared very interested. He looked out at the children and pointed to ten year-old Brice Butler, asking his name.
“What’s your dad do for a living, Brice?”
“He runs a construction company,” the boy replied.
“Oh, he runs the company. Is it his company or does he work for someone else?”
“It’s his. He has a lot of people working for him.”
“Oh, so he’s what a lot of people would call a self-made man,” Biden said. “I’m going to guess that you’re pretty proud of your dad, huh?”
“Yeah,” Brice responded shyly.
“Tell me something, Brice. Would you be so proud of your dad if you found out that he’s been lying to you your whole life? That he really didn’t build his business on his own after all?”
The boy appeared confused.
“That’s right kids,” Biden exclaimed, “none of your moms and dads ever did anything on their own. They had lots of help that you’ve probably never heard about. It was other people who made your parents a success.”
When the kids began murmuring Biden leaned into the microphone.
“The fact is, if it wasn’t for the United States government, your moms and dads might be working as Walmart greeters or digging ditches. Heck, Brice, your dad would most likely be unemployed, which means he wouldn’t be able to afford to send you to this nice camp. Lots of men start drinking heavily when they’re unemployed, Brice. And when they get good and drunk they beat their wives and kids. Think about that the next time your dad boasts about building his own business and neglects to mention all the help he received from the United States government.”
Biden closed his notes and folded his hands on the podium.
“Brice thinks his dad is special because he works hard, but does he work any harder than our energetic and proficient DMV workers? How about all those irritated postal workers who, after their lunch and cigarette breaks, manage to sell you a postage stamp after you’ve stood in line for 90 minutes? And those groups of men in hardhats you see standing around smoking on the freeway? Aren’t these people worthy of some recognition?”
Biden looked sternly at the children.
“If it wasn’t for our government doing the bulk of the work, Brice’s dad’s successful business would never have happened. I want you to remember that, Brice, the next time you think about putting your old man on a pedestal.”
The vice president spent the next several minutes extolling the advantages of government employment before wishing the kids a fun-filled summer and jumping into his limo for an important fundraiser with Baltimore businessmen.