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Any conservatives worth their salt know about the despicable behavior of Joe Biden over the last 50 years: he has lied, touched women inappropriately, misused the power of his office, railroaded Justice Clarence Thomas in his Congressional hearings, and attacked voters. Under the spotlight of the 2020 campaign, his flaws are even more obvious, particularly his verbal gaffes, confusion and other attributes of potential dementia, as described in Brian Watt’s excellent post.
But in our discussions of Joe Biden, I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable, not about criticisms of Joe Biden from the past, but the efforts to humiliate, ridicule, and shame him for his actions and behaviors during the campaign. Especially notable are shows like “The Next Revolution” on Fox News, which had a segment (preceded by a cartoon of Biden dressed as a clown) with a series of his gaffes. I dislike Joe Biden, but this segment made me very uncomfortable.
In the discussion of Biden on Brian Watt’s post, a number of people also seemed to be gleeful, assuming (I suppose) that Biden was getting what he deserved. Many people were bothered by the apparent effort by Biden’s family and handlers to put Joe through the grueling process of a campaign to be president. People can speculate on their reasons, but most of them are not beneficial to Biden himself, to the Democrat Party (unless they think they can control him if he’s elected) or to the country.
I realize the prospects of Biden’s being elected are limited, but it raises two major questions, one legal and one moral:
- Is there any way to protect the country from a person who may be mentally incompetent from being elected to the highest office in the country?
- On a more global level, is it appropriate to intend to publicly humiliate a vulnerable person because the person has committed despicable acts in the past?
It’s important to clarify a few things at this point. If people become vulnerable at some point in their lives, their pasts should not be forgotten or even forgiven. But as human beings, is it appropriate for us to be gleeful over a person’s current tragedy, due to his actions in the past? I’m not saying we should ignore the person’s current condition, either. We should describe what we are seeing, protest the situation, but for me, enjoying a person’s demise and stating publicly that we are happy about his misfortune is simply immoral.
In addition, I believe that it’s not my place to tell anyone what he or she should think or feel. Those experiences are between you and G-d. The actions and behaviors taken to humiliate another person are what I find disturbing.
I’m not sure how to consider people on Ricochet who expressed their dismay at this condition, particularly if someone close to them had dementia, or those who expressed delight in Biden’s misfortune. Are we a Ricochet family where we sometimes come to vent? Or are we a public forum which we can use to express our attitudes about Joe Biden in the present?
Finally, I’d like to share a thought from Judaism:
One should be extremely careful to never shame another in public. This sin is akin to murder; just as blood is spilled in the act of murder, so too when one is shamed the blood drains from his face. One who publicly embarrasses his fellow loses his share in the World to Come. This sin is considered more severe than a borderline adulterous act.
One who publicly embarrasses his fellow loses his share in the World to Come. In fact, the Talmud derives from the story of Judah and Tamar that it is better to be thrown into a fiery furnace than to shame another publicly. It was in the merit of her extreme care not to shame Judah – to the point of willingness to forfeit her life – that Tamar had descendants who became kings and prophets.
I do wish we had a way to screen an individual who may have mental illness before he runs for a high office, but the Constitution doesn’t provide that path. And clearly, we can’t expect those close to a candidate to act on his behalf.
Those people who allowed Joe Biden to continue in public office over the last 50 years, and those who currently keep silent, have earned our disdain and condemnation.Published in