Former business partner of Hunter Biden, Tony Bobulinski, met with the FBI on Friday – 10/23 – to share evidence of presidential elect Joe Biden’s dealings with his son’s company. If true, it could mean that the presidential elect stood in front of America Thursday night and lied about receiving funding from foreign interests.
In response to President Trump’s allegation on this topic, Biden responded, “I have not taken a penny from any foreign source in my life.” Yet in the press conference immediately before the debate on Thursday night Bobulinski said the exact opposite: “I’ve seen Vice President Biden saying he never talked to Hunter about his business. I’ve seen firsthand that that’s not true, because it wasn’t just Hunter’s business, they said they were putting the Biden family name and its legacy on the line. The Biden family aggressively leveraged the Biden family name to make millions of dollars from foreign entities even though some were from communist-controlled China. (NewsNation Now).”
Between Trump’s tax returns, Hilary’s emails, Obama’s spying scandal, and now this from Presidential elect Joe Biden, it begs the question, where did all of the virtuous political leaders go? And why is it that putting those two words in the same sentence, virtue and politician, seems to be the punch line of a joke rather than a reality today?
Americans have always taken a great deal of pride in the nation they live in and the leaders that represent them. Within recent history, however, leaders from across the aisle have been faced with so many scandals that it has become difficult for the average American to desire to emulate their leaders. Republican, Democrat and Independent all share space in the quagmire of American political corruption and finding an alternative can seem impossible.
A source of this disappointment may be a mythic understanding of past leaders. Distanced by history, leaders of the past seem like shiny examples—histories show a complete picture. We do not expect our leaders to be perfect, but we certainly expect a certain standard of integrity and character. However, there is a noticeable lack of enthusiasm in this election where Americans feel they are choosing between two bad options and must simply choose the best of the worst. Shouldn’t the presidency be the best of the best?
In an age of rapid (and indelible) information, scandal is nearly impossible to escape. Real, alleged, and blatantly false stories fly around at a rate faster than they can be checked, dizzying the American people as a result. Thousands of years ago this was the same. Virgil in the Aeneid exclaims “[Rumor] bringing great cities fear, harping on lies and slander evenhandedly with truth.” The stories, true or false, are everywhere. Even when proven false, these stories linger and leave a stain.
Yet, many of these scandals are very real. Especially as politics has been tied into business—not that this was not true in the past, of course—special interests dominate D.C. Picking someone of virtue out of the stack seems like finding a needle in a pile of hundreds of haystacks. It is as if the process to become a leader necessarily disqualifies this person from being able to lead.
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
We should not give up, though. American life is predicated on a hope that is, while irrational, sown into our identity. We will continue to strive to find leaders that make us proud and that represent the American spirit. Our leaders will not be perfect—far from it—but our leaders will be closer to the ideals of our nation, working to free our nation from the realm of scandal and rumor, while striving to be more virtuous and upright themselves.
In closing, we must begin this with calling ourselves to a higher standard. If we take the time to reform ourselves and become what we want to see in a leader, a leader will have to emerge. Dr. King himself, some 60 years ago in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, reminded the American people that progress is not inevitable and requires the purification of the self before change can appear. We must reform ourselves and become the leader this country needs.
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 Aeneid, IV.256-257
Feature photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash