Biden and Bullying

There’s a tragic story out of Canada about a teen suicide. It is the latest in the devastating effects of bullying. I found it so ironic that it followed the Vice Presidential debate by two days because, for me, the connection was unmistakable.  No, I am not blaming Vice President Joe Biden for the suicide of a Canadian teenager. What I am calling him on is his modeling of bullying as viable and preferred method of communication.

As a survivor of attempted suicide at age 24, I have a particular sensitivity to tragedies such as the one in Canada. As a talk radio host, I have a need to keep abreast of the news. As a citizen, I have an obligation to be educated, aware and hold my elected officials to a certain behavioral standard of public service and when they fail, to replace them. As a human being, I am personally responsible for not only my own choices but those of others whom I either condone or condemn.

In a nation plagued by bullying, cyber and otherwise, I was shocked and dismayed that in all the commentary and condemnation of Vice President Biden’s shameful behavior during the debate with Congressman Ryan this past week there remains, even as I write, an absence of awareness and identification of the fact that the Vice President was being a bully.

I make this accusation because his behavior was demeaning, condescending, intimidating, designed to make Congressman Ryan look foolish, stupid, out-of-touch and not worth the time or space the Congressman was taking up…in other words…worthless.  That is always a bully’s intention and modus operandi.

When bullies succeed, as they did in Canada, it ends tragically.  When they are rewarded, as would be the case in re-electing Vice President Biden, we validate them, their behavior and abdicate our personal responsibility to stand and say to the perpetrator, “You are the loser. You are the one who is deficient. You are the one lacking in self-respect.  I choose to condemn your behavior and, instead, stand with your intended victim.”

It is, sadly, too late for the teenager in Canada. It’s almost too late for the Nation…but not quite.

I saw President Obama disrespect Governor Romney by refusing to look at him throughout the debate and deeming him not worth the effort to prepare. I saw Vice President Biden disrespect Congressman Ryan by way of interruption and condescension. That’s all I need.

Hope and change?  I have hope and here’s the change we need.

We have a choice on November 6th.  We can choose to reject the behavior and politics of bullying, name calling and destruction and choose decency instead. By so doing, we will reject the bullies and move toward ushering in a new era of civility in our public discourse. Perhaps when our leaders exemplify respect for one another, our youth will have new models to emulate and the bullies will be relegated to our national dustbin where they belong.


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