The VP visits the Mother Road’s most conservative stretch

The VP visits the Mother Road’s most conservative stretch

I remember the last time I was at a venue which was inundated with Secret Service agents.  It was April 1991 and the location was the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD.  I was in Phase I of my nurse anesthesia training and my class was in the process of getting our ACLS certifications renewed.  It was an all day evolution in the Education & Training Department of NNMC.  President George H.W. Bush had a run of atrial fibrillation a few weeks previous and had to come to NNMC for his cardiology recheck.  I fortunately arrived early before traffic got backed up by the Presidential motorcade.  I vividly remember all the three piece suits standing in the passageways about fifty or so feet apart, talking into their lapels.  They were all totally professional and very courteous.  My experience Tuesday afternoon at the Bank of America Center in Downtown Tulsa sure churned up those memories.


All the brouhaha revolved around a visit from Vice President Joe Biden sponsored by the Democratic National Committee as a fundraiser for the Oklahoma Democratic Party.  Somewhere around two hundred Oklahoma Democrats were in attendance for this event.  Phenomenon such as this are few and far between along this, the most conservative segment of Old Route 66.  The last time I was present for a sitting Vice President’s visit to Tulsa was in the run up to the 1984 election when then Vice President George H. W. Bush came to a rally in Bartlett Square, around the block from the building of Tuesday’s venue.  It is not a very frequent occurrence.  Tuesday’s visit by Joe Biden was indeed a treat and his message was a soothing validation for all the local Democrats who turned out to hear it.  It most certainly was a welcomed respite given their party in the Sooner State has sustained quite a beat down since 2010.

Blues at the Summit

Blues at the Summit

 The VP’s visit to The Summit Club was coordinated by the former Tulsa County Democratic Party Chairman Michael Whelan.  Mr. Whelan was the one who got to introduce the Vice President.


Michael Whelan

With many Oklahoma Democratic Party fixture members present, the Vice President Biden was greeted with thunderous applause.  Just about all of what Vice President Biden had to say was comfortingly familiar.  He provided us all with a description of what has been happening in the Senate in terms of legislation that penalizes the Middle Class and how he is attempting to guide legislation to make the burden of taxation more fair and provide needed programs for access to higher education.  In doing so he reminded us all why we chose to become Democrats.


The take home message of the VP’s entire speech came by way of a story of his travels and discourses with Chinese President Xi Jinping.  Mr. Xi asked him to describe America in one sentence.  Mr. Biden condensed it down to one word, “Possibilities.”  I found that description intriguing.  It however follows what I know to be true, that America represents the absolute best of what mankind has to offer.  Sadly, America also represents the absolute worst in some cases but over all it hinges on the concept of possibilities.


Life has not been kind to our nation’s Vice President this year.  The weight of the grief of the loss of his son to brain cancer just a few months ago still appeared very apparent.  One thing he waxed philosophically about was his vision for the nation had he chosen to run for President next year.  He described a thumbnail sketch version of a Manhattan Project to eradicate the scourge of cancer.  After hearing that, it actually made me sad he was not a candidate.  I did feel privileged to be in the personal space of the second highest office holder in the land.  Knowing how gracefully he bears the burden of leadership and responsibility made the moment all the more special.


I am glad to have gotten to attend the Vice President’s visit.  I just wish that we Dems here in Oklahoma could get a visit from the President and/or Vice President a little more frequently.  My hat is off to the Summit Club directors and staff for putting on a very classy event as well as to all the Secret Service and Tulsa Police Department personnel involved.  I also appreciate all members of the Oklahoma and Tulsa County Democratic Party who help coordinate the festivities as well as all who turned out in support of our Vice President.




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