Biden as Unethical or Incompetent: Quick Correction

By Tom Gilson Published on September 3, 2020

I went for a long walk this morning — a great way to clear the mind — and I realized I was wrong in my recent article on Joe Biden. I said there were three logically possible reasons a man in his position might not actively call on local leaders to arrest violent protestors. There’s a fourth, actually: He might think that it would be strategically counterproductive; that it would make things worse, not better.

My conclusion in the end will be the same: He doesn’t have what it takes to be president. The path to that conclusion goes through interesting steps, though. I don’t see a way to address it without looking at the larger question: Why has he been so slow to urge the (ahem) “mostly peaceful protestors” to make themselves totally peaceful protestors? Why haven’t any Democratic leaders done that?

Now, here’s where that fourth option gets interesting: It’s a perfect fit for Donald Trump. He could try to make a firm, value-based call to protestors, but the best that could happen is they’d laugh, saying he “has no values.” (That’s speaking from their perspective, now). Worse, though, there’s a good chance they’d erupt in even more violence, because in their minds, he personifies everything they’re angry at. Strategically, then, it’s not something I’d advise Trump to do.

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What about Biden, though? If Trump personifies what they’re angry about, then Biden must represent the opposite. It’s not at all likely his appeal to them would make things worse. Sure, there’s no guarantee that protestors would listen and respond to him; but there’s no reason not to try, either. It might actually help. There’s one good way to find out, but no Democratic leader has tried it.

In fact, from the days following Trump’s election, Democrats have steadfastly refused to say anything. That’s why I said last time they’re acting like they want the violence to go on. Maybe that’s true of Biden, too, but I still lean more toward the other theory: that he’s powerless to act.


Tom Gilson (@TomGilsonAuthor) is a senior editor with The Stream and the author or editor of six books, including the recently released Too Good To Be False: How Jesus’ Incomparable Character Reveals His Reality.

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