We’re Not Crying, You’re Crying, Watching Jacquelyn Asbie Nominate Joe Biden For President
Tuesday night, Jacquelyn Asbie was the first person to nominate Joe Biden for president at the Democratic National Convention. The 31-year-old security guard's endorsement is still perhaps the most important one he received during the primary.
Please watch Asbie's remarks. Cry like a baby. And then we'll continue with some backstory.
Watch Jacquelyn Asbie Nominate Joe Biden At The 2020 DNC | NBC News www.youtube.com
JACQUELYN: I take powerful people up on my elevator all the time. When they get off, they go to their important meetings. Me? I just head back to the lobby. But in the short time I spent with Joe Biden, I could tell he really saw me, that he actually cared, that my life meant something to him. And I knew, even when he went into his important meeting, he'd take my story with him. That's because Joe Biden has room in his heart for more than just himself.
Last year, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was on his way to an editorial board meeting at the New York Times. If this had been a "West Wing" episode, he might've suspected already that he wouldn't gain the paper's endorsement, which went in a split decision to Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar. But he's still prepared to make his case.
This was when he met Jacquelyn Asbie. She doesn't speak to guests she's escorting unless they first speak to her, and most “important" people don't bother. But when she looked at Joe Biden, he smiled and said, "Hi."
"I love you," she replied in a moment millions would see in a viral video. "I do. You're my favorite."
Asbie doesn't do "star-struck." She's escorted major celebrities into the building and it was always strictly business. But Biden was different. She's been a fan of his since he joined Barack Obama's ticket. Jacquelyn would've been in her teens at that time. Her affection for the future president shattered certain myths and predicted Biden's eventual primary victory. She's young and enthusiastically supportive of Biden. It's not tactical — she doesn't assume he's "more electable" in the Rust Belt. She just believes he's the "person I want to lead the country."
Honored to have won Jacquelyn's endorsement. https://t.co/tGpNZjXacu— Joe Biden (@Joe Biden)1579550880.0
The video of Biden taking a selfie with Asbie received three times as many views as the Times's endorsement videos for Klobuchar and Warren.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Asbie said she's inspired by how Biden has overcome personal tragedy.
ASBIE: He's been through so much. And he doesn't show it on the outside. He may feel it on the inside — and I'm that type of person.
She's watched previous Democratic conventions and was “overwhelmed" by the idea of playing such a key role.
ASBIE: I never thought I would be in a position to do this. I never thought I was worthy enough to do this.
Now she knows she is.
You can't avoid contrasting this moment with some of the announced participants at the upcoming Republican National Convention — Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann and his-and-her gun wielders Mark and Patricia McCloskey. They are privileged people, far more than Jacquelyn Asbie, and their "fame" is rooted in the MAGA crowd's resentment of almost anyone who isn't them. The connection between Asbie and Biden doesn't require the press or Black Lives Matter protesters as enemies. It only demands kindness, and that is the clearest difference between Joe Biden and the current White House occupant, whom Asbie has never escorted in an elevator and never will.
ASBIE: I keep telling them, "If he comes, I'm taking off that day."
This is the strength and will that will help deliver Donald Trump from the White House.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).