Presidential candidate Joe Biden really got my attention last week … and not in a good way. First there was the “No malarkey” tour. Okay, that’s a nice, if dated, way to say “no bullshit.” I’m not at all sure it’s a good idea to remind voters that he’s old enough to use that phrase. Worse, a late night show did a “man in the street” bit and only one of the young adults they questioned even knew the meaning of “malarkey.” Clearly it’s not a good way to court young voters.
Then at a campaign event, Biden was confronted by a voter who made accusations about Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine. Biden instantly turned on the man and called him “a damn liar.” And he didn’t stop there. He got into the guy’s face, challenging him to pushups, calling him fat, etc., while I cringed and wished fervently that he’d just shut up. Attacking voters, however insulted you might be, is never a good idea. Yes, it was righteous anger from a parent defending his son, but in the moment I thought it looked very bad. Not to mention that as a child I was taught never to call anyone a liar. Call them misinformed, wrong, mistaken, but never call them “liar.”
In a different incident, a reporter asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi if she hated the president and she blew up, saying she didn’t hate anybody. (He never said she hated Trump; he simply asked if she did.) She returned to the mic, lectured the reporter, and attributed her reaction to a Catholic upbringing which had taught her never to hate anyone. She went on to say she didn’t hate anyone in the whole world. I wished she had just left it at, “I don’t hate him.” Again, in my childhood, I was taught never to say I hated anyone. I could dislike them intensely, but I couldn’t “hate” them. (My parents were determined to raise a proper young lady.)
I still don’t call anyone “liar.” After all, I might be wrong. But I freely “hate” lots of people and things. It’s so much easier to say than “I really, really intensely dislike that.” I hate that Pelosi was lording her religion over that reporter and I hate that Biden called that voter a damn liar.