At a post election forum in Washington, D.C. sponsored by the New York University School of Law, Vice President Joe Biden said that he was “embarrassed” by the 2016 presidential campaign that he said was more a “battle of personalities than it was ideas.”
In Biden’s view, we’re no longer that ‘shining city on the hill’ that so many other politicians before him had described.
“This has been a very tough election. It’s been ugly, it’s been divisive, it’s been course, it’s been dispiriting. And it was more a battle of personalities than it was ideas, in my view. As the vice president of the U.S., I have traveled over 1,200,000 miles, traveling to meet with virtually every major head of state in the world. I’ve been doing this a long time. I know and have met virtually every single one. Every major head of state in the last 35 years. Not because I’m important, it just happened to be the jobs I had at the moment.
“And I find myself embarrassed by the nature of the way the campaign was conducted. So much for the ‘shining city on the hill.’
“But, the fact of it is that I know there is a sense in the country that maybe things are worse off than they really are, that our institutions aren’t working and maybe we can never get them to work. For a lot of folks, it feels as if we are more divided than we have ever been in our history, and that the election brought out the worst in our political system.”
Yes, politics is ugly. It’s corrupt. It’s self-righteous posturing. It’s really nothing more than marketing and advertising. Politicians are fake and phony. They’re told by their managers and advisers to stay on script in order to market their brand. Use certain buzzwords, don’t use certain phrases. They’re told not to say what they actually believe, but what the polls say most people in the most important demographics want to hear.
But it’s the media that’s really the catalyst that truly brings out the worst in politicians. They spread gossip and rumors, they slander, make unsubstantiated claims, rip quotes out of context, and provoke anger. They conveniently leave out important details to give viewers a false impression, they concoct false narratives, they sensationalize. They ask loaded questions and then interrupt when the interviewee is trying to answer and explain. They do all sorts of things to stir up trouble and create controversy and chaos for the express purpose of getting people to watch.
I agree with Biden that this campaign was ugly. But it was really no uglier than any other. And Biden can’t attack just the politics without attacking the media’s role in fomenting the ugliness.
I think his point in criticizing the campaign and lamenting that we’re no longer the ‘shining city on the hill’ was the same as most other Democrats. Trump won, so now we’re this divided nation, and everything is ugly. If Hillary had won, he’d celebrate how unified we are and how we really are that ‘shining city on the hill.’
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