To Biden, Civility To The Vile Is Not Only Necessary, It’s Virtuous

When I see Biden hug those who would rather hang me, I question whether I can hang with him.

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Senator James Eastland (Public Domain)

ppearances matter.

Somehow, after 50 years of public life, Joe Biden seemingly doesn’t understand this. Somehow after 50 years of public life, he seemingly believes he can publicly befriend my enemy and remain my friend. Somehow after 50 years of public life, he continually sees virtue in those whose objectives are diametrically opposed to mine. He sees virtue in the vile, those who see no virtue in me.

Perhaps I’m a fast learner but in my line of work, it didn’t take me 50 years to learn that appearances matter.

I’m a criminal defense attorney. I genuinely like some of the prosecutors with whom I work although our objectives are diametrically opposed. I want the freedom for those I defend. They want their imprisonment, often for long periods of time.

I learned that when those I defend see me laughing and joking and cavorting with the person whose objective is to imprison them, they rightly question my objective. They rightly question whether I’m on their side. They rightly question the one thing that matters most: whether they can trust me.

In my line of work, trust is everything. And when trust is everything, appearances matter.

Whether pathological, whether pragmatic, Joe Biden seemingly cherishes civility over principle. He talks fondly of his dinners and fine times with the likes of Senator James Eastland, my avowed enemy. His objectives were diametrically opposed to mine. I wanted to live a long life of equality and dignity. He wanted me dead. I view that chasm as irreconcilable. Joe Biden seemingly views it as a mere political disagreement that shouldn’t ruin a good meal.

There is a line, not very fine, where one crosses from the political to the personal. There are those who hold views, not very fine, that disallow civil discourse. James Eastland crossed that line. James Eastland held those views. Unlike Joe Biden, I cannot stomach them. I cannot stomach him.

“In every stage of the bus boycott, we have been oppressed and degraded because of the black, slimy, juicy, unbearably stinky niggers…All whites are created equal with certain rights, among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of dead niggers.” James Eastland speaking at a segregation rally

As a black, slimy, juicy, unbearably stinky nigger, it is my guess that with Senator Eastland I would not be coming to dinner. He questioned Joe Biden’s politics and whether he deserved his Senate seat. He questioned my humanity and whether I deserved life. Since all whites are created equal with certain rights, surely choosing ones dinner companion must be among them. I only wish that Joe Biden would have chosen another of his 99 colleagues to laugh and joke and cavort.

Perhaps one who hadn’t worked up an appetite by pursuing dead niggers or by encouraging others to do so.

Sometimes working with those who hold despicable views is a necessary evil. Sometimes even dining with those who hold despicable views is a necessary evil. But the recollection of doing so, even for the greater good, should conjure revulsion rather than nostalgia. By praising the days when he shared civil dinners with one who viewed me so uncivilly, I question Joe Biden’s objective. I question whether he’s on my side. I question the one thing that matters most: whether I can trust him.

Like in mine, in his line of work, trust is everything. And when trust is everything, appearances matter. Somehow after 50 years of public life, Joe Biden doesn’t understand that he’s asking for far more than my vote; he’s asking for my trust. He is failing at getting either.

Perhaps Corey Booker and Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris and Beto O’Rourke are faster learners than Joe Biden. They seem to have gotten in far less than 50 years that just like black lives and black votes, appearances matter. And by having gotten what Joe Biden doesn’t, one of them will get what Joe Biden won’t — — — my vote. My black, slimy, juicy, unbearably stinky vote.

Appearances matter.

A husband. A father. A former member of the Georgia House of Representatives. A former judge. Now, an indigent defense attorney winning unwinnable trials.

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