I know few political leaders, but those whom I know of (through books or films) inspire and fascinate me like no other. People from other walks of life pale in comparison. Among these include Jawaharlal Nehru, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama, John F Kennedy and a couple others. Also, Elizabeth McCord, if we include fictional characters.
I was reminded of this today, because if you’ve been following the US Primaries, you might know that Bernie Sanders dropped out of the Democratic race for the President. While it was expected, given his recent losses in key States, it was heart-breaking nevertheless. And it was not the first time. Sanders was also one of those political figures who fascinated me.
I started following Bernie back in 2016 when he faced-off against Hillary Clinton. At 78 years, I’m awed by Bernie’s energy and commitment. He ran his campaign on a simple but a fundamental promise of free college education, affordable health care and fair minimum wages.
One of the serendipitous spin-off of following Bernie’s campaign was that I was introduced to one of my all time favorite Simon & Garfunkel’s America through a Bernie campaign video from 2016. It’s a beautiful video of hope.
Even as I wanted to write about Sanders, I realized that I knew very little about Joe Biden – other than that he was Vice President in the Obama administration and Obama once mentioned that Joe made him a better President. A google search, a couple of clicks, and a few minutes of engrossed reading later, I feel like I know Joe Biden really well.
Joe was first elected to the Senate from the state of Delaware in 1973 and he remained Senator for the next 36 years until 2009 when he resigned to become the Vice President (remember Frank Underwood in House of Cards?). In 1972, when he was 28, he lost his first wife and daughter to a car accident, just after being elected to the Senate. He threw his hat in the Presidential race in 1988 and again in 2008 before pulling out. In 2015, he lost his son Beau to brain cancer.
Biden and Obama did not always tick off as running mates or in the White House. They seem to come off as very different individuals. Yet they had a long successful stint together. Obama and other senior advisers in his administration have always emphasized on the value he adds to the administration. Obama paid a glowing tribute to Biden when he said, “The best thing about Joe is that when we get everybody together, he really forces people to think and defend their positions, to look at things from every angle, and that is very valuable for me.” Biden was an integral of part of Obama’s ‘team of rivals.’
There is a lot that we can potentially learn from political leaders. More on this on another post.
On other news, I completed my first little project on data science using Python. It was an analysis of a Netflix dataset. Well, I found out that Pakistan and India make longer movies than any other country in the world. Read more about it here: Data Science Learning Diary 1