We are told that President Joe Biden is an incredibly empathetic person. This empathy is what brought him to the White House — his ability to deeply and permanently connect with others. Ben Cramer, in Richard Ben Cramer’s blow-by-blow account of the 1988 campaign cycle “What it Takes”, describes Biden’s “connection” ability as his greatest skill. Biden has been sold as a man with little brains, who is not an extremely resourceful politician and is awkward on his feet but cares. Mark Gitenstein was Biden’s speechwriter in 1988 and has been a long-time adviser. He said, “His capacity to communicate with those who are suffering is perhaps his greatest strength.”
Maybe Biden is not an empathic man. He may have traded in fake empathy while nourishing his narcissism.
This story is certainly more plausible today.
Biden visited Maui this week. Nearly two weeks had passed since the deadliest wildfire in American history claimed hundreds of lives. Biden was on vacation in Delaware, where he told reporters that he “had no comment” about the situation. He then jetted off to Lake Tahoe, before heading to Lahaina. He explained that when he arrived in Hawaii, he understood the pain of families who had lost loved ones. He said that he had experienced a small fire in his kitchen once. He said, “I’m not comparing difficulties, but Jill and myself have some idea of what it is like to lose your home.” “Years, now 15 years ago, I was doing ‘Meet The Press ‘… Lighting struck outside my home, on a small lake, not a large pond. It struck the wire, and it came up under our home into… the air conditioning ducts. To make a long tale short, I nearly lost my wife, my 1967 Corvette, and my cat.”
In 2004, lightning struck Biden’s kitchen and caused a fire that was extinguished in just 20 minutes.
If it were an isolated event, we might chalk it up to Biden’s growing senility. It’s not. Biden shrugged off the failure of the pullout in Afghanistan, which led to the death of 13 American soldiers, the abandonment and subjugation of hundreds of American citizens, thousands of American Green Card holders, and tens and millions of women. When he was confronted by the families of the wounded and dead American soldiers, Biden tried to “feel” their pain, invoking his son Beau’s death. Cheryl Rex’s son, who died in the Abbey Gate Bombing on August 26, 2021, said, “My wife, Jill, and I know how you feel. We lost our son and we brought him home draped with a flag. ”
Biden has quoted Beau on similar occasions multiple times.
Shiva is a period of seven days of mourning in the Jewish community following a death. During shiva mourners do not leave their homes; instead, they are cared for and fed by the community. The community members visit the Shiva home to comfort the mourners.
The first rule when visiting a Shiva House is: Do not talk about your personal experiences of death or pain. This is rude, irrelevant, and trivializing.
This is Biden’s first move.
Empathy is a quality that allows you to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. But Biden’s not empathetic. He believes that the pain of others is just a reflection of his own.