This was centuries after the death of Ruth Bader-Ginsburg and centuries before Trump got COVID and exposed scads of other people to it in his massively sociopathic way.
During that debate, a number of things happened.
So, for instance, Trump made clear that Roe means nothing to him and he was just as eager as Biden to see that nothing happen to it:
President Donald J. Trump: (10:25)You don’t know what’s on the ballot. Why is [Roe v. Wade] on the ballot? Why is it on the ballot? It’s not on the ballot.
Vice President Joe Biden: (10:31)It’s on the ballot in the court.
President Donald J. Trump: (10:32)I don’t think so.
Vice President Joe Biden: (10:33)In the court.
President Donald J. Trump: (10:34)There’s nothing happening there.
Vice President Joe Biden: (10:35)Donald would you just be quiet for a minute.
President Donald J. Trump: (10:36)You don’t know her view on Roe V. Wade. You don’t know her view.
Note: Trump’s whole point here was not to attack Biden for supporting Roe, but to insist that he is no more a threat to Roe than Biden is.
For this, the MAGA “prolife” cult has degraded itself in the eyes of man and God to cheer for mockery of the disabled, to spit on POWs, to spit on the graves of “suckers” and “losers” who did for them, to murder refugees by thirst, to kidnap children into rape camps, to inflict mass hysterectomies on brown and poor women.
To get a man’s soul and give him *nothing* in return–that is what truly gladdens the heart of Our Father Below. – Uncle Screwtape
But wait! There’s more! America also discovered that amid a raging torrent of endless bullying chatter, there was a magic question that could render Trump silent:
Well, almost silent. He did manage to declare himself the Commander-in-Chief of the white supremacist Proud Boys group and tell them to “stand by”. Thanks for showing us what you really believe yet again, sir.
But that was not the ugliest thing he did, amazingly. This was:
But when Biden speaks of loss and pain—of Beau, or of the car accident that killed his wife and daughter—he becomes deeply compelling; as Fintan O’Toole wrote, Biden’s grief is “real and rooted and fundamentally decent.” After eight months of funerals, for hundreds of thousands of American families, the kind of grief that Biden speaks of, the kind that accompanies the loss of a loved one, is no longer distant. The president stood in front of that grieving nation, and taunted a father while he was speaking of his lost son. Before the eyes of a nation struggling with an opioid epidemic, he mocked a dad for having a kid with a drug problem.
More than any other moment of the debate, Trump’s response to Biden’s invocation of his dead son—attempting to make him ashamed of his surviving one—threw the dispositions of the two men into sharp relief. I wondered how Hunter must have felt to see his father speak of his pride in his brother, only for his own name to be brandished as a weapon to inflict shame on his father. And I thought about Biden’s response, which was to reaffirm his pride in Hunter, the troubled son living in the indelible shadow of a departed war hero. In the midst of being attacked by a president trying to wield his own family against him, Biden’s instinct was to reassure Hunter that he is also loved, that nothing could make his father see him as a loser.
Biden acted like a father, doing what almost any parent would have done. And yet because Trump is the kind of man who wonders at the moment of his child’s birth whether the child will someday mortify him, he did not anticipate that response. He did not expect that, instead of embarrassing Biden, he would merely advertise the callousness that has made him unable to govern the country with any sense of duty or responsibility, the narcissism that makes him see those concepts as foolish and naive.
All things in Trump’s world revolve around him, and are a reflection of him. The president evaluates everything—even his own children, even at the time they enter this world—by how they might make him look, and he is incapable of imagining that anyone else would do differently. When he was a reality-show celebrity, this trait was minimally damaging to society; now that he is a president, it has proved catastrophic.
One of the reasons I support Biden is simply this: suffering has done him good as it did FDR good. He is a man capable of real empathy. He even displayed it to Trump when he took sick, and ended his attack ads, a decent thing to do.
Trump, in a way that weds him to some of the worst people in history, appears to have no capacity for empathy. His response to human suffering is either indifference
He is a man capable of taking vengeance on an infant nephew with cerebral palsy in a spat over over Daddy’s money and showing no remorse 20 years later. He is a cruel man who has gathered around him a cruel cult of personality. So cruel are they, in fact, that they always respond to real displays of empathy with cynicism and mockery.
For me, that is the deepest tragedy: that he as unleashed in the hearts and minds of conservative Christians who might have been better, the darkest and most satanic forces in their psyches.
He is a weak person’s idea of a strong person, a stupid person’s idea of a smart person, a coward’s idea of a brave person, a fool’s idea of a wise person, and a loser’s idea of a winner. That anybody could watch that degenerate display of cruelty and come away filled with admiration or think that he “dominated” only fills me with pity and contempt.
I am mortally sick of this sadistic man, and of the evil antichrist cult that adores his exercises of raw nihilist power. I’ll take Biden’s human decency and empathy over him any day.