Joe Biden stop in Muscatine offers family civics lesson

Democratic presidential front-runner and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to a crowd of over 150 at Muscatine's Pearl City Station last week. Photo by Jim Elias

“I’m here for the experience. I want to judge his opinions about why he wants to be president,” said 11-year-old Abby Rahlf of Wilton.

Abby, along with her twin sister Taylor and parents Robert Rahlf and Julie Bormet, attended former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign townhall event last week at the Pearl City Station in downtown Muscatine. Over 150 people waited patiently for the former Vice President to arrive about 7:15 p.m. on Wednesday.

“I sort of neglected my civic responsibility and didn’t vote when I was younger,” said Julie Bormet.

Julie Bormet, Taylor Rahlf, Abby Rahlf and Robert Rahlf wait for and talk about what they may expect to hear when former Vice President Joe Biden takes the stage in Muscatine last week. Photo by Jim Elias

“Now, I want to give the girls the opportunity to hear the opinions of candidates.

She and her husband feel it’s important to expose their daughters to candidates’ ideas so they can learn to form their own opinions and have the confidence to speak up about their own beliefs.

“They said get in the car we’re going,” joked Taylor. “But really, I want to see if he will make a change.”

When probed a little deeper, both girls talked about their concern over how they feel the government handles what adults might call human rights and immigration issues.

“I don’t like how they split up families from other countries and put them in cages,” said Abby. “They shouldn’t separate them for who they are.”

Robert Rahlf said he voted for President Trump in the last election.  Although he feels some things are working well in the country, he also believes political activities are on a fast, downward spiral.

“I think politics will change due to Trump being in office,” he said.  “He has gotten more people involved about what they can do to make change.  Some of it has come at a real cost to our country, but I think it’s worth it in the long run.”

Rahlf said he wants to listen to Biden and all of the candidates and examine their approach to people and politics.  He said it’s important to see who can do the best job. He and his wife hope their girls learn that same civics lesson at their young age.