Biden is also of a generation that places a priority on civility and smoothing over individual differences for the benefit of the larger group. Younger generations, and millennials in particular, are into authenticity, calling out inappropriate behavior, and defining people by what they believe.
Biden harkens back to an era when politics was a gentleman’s club for Democrats and Republicans to pal around while having intellectual disagreements on policy. It was easy for Biden to call Vice President Mike Pence “a decent guy,” and he often refers to his Republican friends. But people have grown impatient with calls to reach across the aisle simply for the sake of bipartisanship; those who use their power to systematically deny women and minorities their basic rights are not “decent” people. While Biden defaults to assuming decency in politicians like Pence, we need politicians to prove they believe in their constituents’ basic humanity.
Biden, like many other members of his generation, often dismisses the challenges young people face today. In 2018, when discussing the challenges of dealing with upheaval in society, Biden said, “The younger generation now tells me how tough things are — give me a break. No, no, I have no empathy for it. Give me a break.”