As a college student, and as a Northwestern student in particular, I understand that most of the students here tend to be liberal. I expect to see and hear liberal ideas on a daily basis, and my professors and classmates rarely prove me wrong. The other day, however, I overheard something that was really quite disturbing (mostly because I know the person and know they were serious), even for what I am used to.
While sitting at dinner, a group of students began to discuss presidents after seeing an article about the new Bush Library in a newspaper. This was inevitably followed by a discussion of who should be president next. As usual, Hillary Clinton claimed the first-choice slot. But what happened next surprised me: one of the students said Joe Biden should be president. ‘Wait, what? Why?’ I thought to myself. What followed was something along these lines: “Biden has become a lot more serious about things, and he’s such a nice guy.” These arguments were elaborated upon slightly more, with no significant content to add. I imagine that many people feel agree with this idea.
The initial concern of course is that our generation tends to vote based on those criteria; so long as the candidate is likable and has a D after his or her name, that’s usually good enough. But beyond that problem, what this displays is a clear lack of awareness and critical judgement.
Joe Biden is the man who very confidently lied and bullied his way through a debate with Paul Ryan (opinions of Ryan aside). Of course we all remember the rather humorous “million billion” Bush-ism. But Biden also claimed both that he voted against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and that “Republicans have been against Medicare from the beginning” (opinions of Medicare aside). Well actually, Joe, not so fast. It is an on-record fact that you voted for both wars, and it is an on-record fact that Republicans passed Medicare originally and passed the extension several years ago.
Ok, but maybe Biden has become more serious since then. Oh, wait… Nope… No he hasn’t. For example, he has recently been extremely involved in the gun control debate, basically running the Obama campaign for more controls, and in doing so he has made a fool of himself to everyone paying attention to details.
First, Biden suggested that women should buy double-barreled shotguns instead of AR-15s because they are easier to use and safer. His suggestion: if someone is trying to break into your house, walk out onto the balcony and fire off two shots to scare them off. Ok, let’s think about this. (Based on his comments, this only works if you have a balcony, so anyone else is toast.) Let’s say someone is breaking into your house, and you take Joe’s suggestion and fire off two shots. Then what? Either the criminal is scared off, or you’re left standing there vulnerable with an empty gun and neighbors scared half to death (and probably thinking you just shot your husband…). Oh, speaking of neighbors, it might be good for Joe to remember that it’s not even slightly ok to fire bullets into the air in a residential area; not only is it all kinds of unsafe and illegal, but your neighbors will probably have to change their underwear after you shoot. Silly, Joe. Try again.
Oh, wait. He did! In his latest epiphany, Joe has expanded on his shotgun idea. According to him, shotguns are an excellent home defense weapon because they allow you to shot intruders through doors, but AR-15s are poor home defense weapons because you could accidentally shoot your child through the bedroom wall.
Time out. What? First of all, shotguns are usually much better than the AR at shooting through anything, so a shot through the bedroom wall is just as possible. Second of all, the Vice President of the United States should know better than to give advice like that. Shoot at an intruder through a door without seeing him/her first? Hey, remember your son Billy who snuck out for a party he wasn’t allowed to go to? He won’t be making that mistake ever again… Logic, Joe. Logic. We want to decrease deaths, not increase accidental ones.
To sum this up, Biden is no more serious now than when he plagiarized in college (and again years later). His ideas are ridiculous and it takes little effort to recognize them as that. But that may be a lot to expect from people who would criticize Republicans as the party of “old, white men,” only to turn around and support Joe Biden for president.