Los Angeles Times columnist Virginia Heffernan says America needs a father figure right now. Here is a taste of her recent column, “Joe Biden just turned into the aspirin America needs for its Trump headache”:
An idea from progressive Catholic theology might be useful for our times: pater patitur— the father suffers.
It goes like this: A father figure, divine or otherwise, isn’t meant to relieve our suffering. Nor should he suffer for us, which suggests condescension. And he certainly shouldn’t inflict suffering on us, as too many parents do with their children. Rather, the father’s role is to suffer withus.
We’ve seen this gracious and ultimately progressive model of fatherhood from Joe Biden in recent days in his run for the Democratic nomination.
Of course, a father is a father, and in this case a white one. Biden doesn’t speak from the political or social margins. Rather he speaks from the head of the table, where — likely as not — he’s having his pot roast served to him by a woman. And that woman may be simultaneously fighting off a lunging animal-rights protester, as Jill Biden, Joe’s wife, and Symone D. Sanders, his campaign advisor, did during Biden’s Super Tuesday speech.
But if we must have a white man as president, as we have had all but once in American history, let it be a well-intentioned one, a self-critical one, one who suffers with us.
Let it be the one who, like Biden, shows up at to sit shiva and to comfort a widow and to mourn in at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., after the 2015 massacre. Biden is a man practiced in grief, who has learned vulnerability, resilience and how to give comfort.
And isn’t that what America needs right now as we fight against despair after Trump’s desecrations?
We don’t need the agitations of Bernie Sanders; we need a salve. And though this is much harder to admit, we collectively lack the fortitude and solidarity to respond to the clarion call of the peerless Elizabeth Warren, who in stronger times could have led us to a more perfect union
Read the entire piece here.