By John F. Di Leo -
A news story has been circulating lately, more on social media than mainstream. Nothing unusual there.
It seems that Joe Biden’s daughter Ashley was in rehab in 2020, and part of her therapy was to keep a diary, perhaps recounting her thoughts on what problems caused her lifelong addictions to sex and substance abuse. In this diary, she postulated that being hypersexualized at a young age, engaging in sexual activity in her youth, and taking showers with her father, may have contributed to this sad problem. She annotated her mention of showering with her father as “probably not appropriate”, but no further details about the showering appeared in the book (at least, no more detail has been published).
Ashley Biden accidentally left the book behind at the rehab residence, to be found by the next resident. It found its way to the hands of the UK’s Daily Mail, which published some excerpts. Project Veritas tried to follow up in more detail, legally, and the FBI immediately started attacking them with harassment and search warrants.
Since this story appeared on the scene, many months ago, it has created a bit of an ethical challenge for those in the media who still have ethics.
Joe Biden is a public figure, arguably the most public there can be. There should certainly be no hesitation about publishing verifiable scandals concerning him.
But this is about his daughter. And as such, she is not exactly a public figure.
The public certainly knows who she is… Joe Biden‘s alleged devotion to his family was one of his political hallmarks throughout his career in Washington. Remember how he famously refused to own or rent property in the Beltway, insisting instead on spending his entire Senate career taking the Amtrak commuter train back and forth every day, so that he could spend every night with his wife and children?
But, while they were known, they were not intentionally public figures, not of their own volition. Outside of his late son, Beau, who eventually ran and won public office himself, the others did not seek public office, and both Hunter and Ashley have had a lifetime of substance abuse, along with other challenges and heartbreaks.
This should pose a dilemma for any politician, reporter, or commentator. Do you cover stories about the personal lives of the candidate’s family, or consider the candidate to be the only legitimate subject, honoring a request, maybe even an unspoken one, to respect the privacy of the rest of them?
To be honest, the entire subject is inherently unfair.
For as long as there have been political campaigns, candidates have posed proudly with their spouses and children, including them in photo shoots, TV commercials, and direct mail pieces.
They all want their children to contribute to their success at the ballot box, and only when that contribution ricochets to cause them embarrassment, only then do they reconsider, and demand that their spouses’ and children’s privacy be respected.
The situation applies, of course, to both Republicans and Democrats… But you’ll forgive me, Gentle Reader, if I think that only Republicans tend to get the short end of the stick on this double standard.
For example, the press was happy to print reports when George W. Bush’s daughters were seen as underage consumers of alcohol in college, but the media was more likely to bury stories of Barack Obama’s daughters’ consumption of marijuana before it had been legalized anywhere.
The press defends these double standards by saying that only the Right makes a claim to family values, so it’s the Right’s hypocrisy that they’re exposing. The fact that such a double standard doesn’t apply at all to the kids in question is conveniently left unexplored.
To look at it another way, consider what issues are involved here, without considering that the person in question is the daughter of a politician. What are her current circumstances, and are they relevant to public policy at all? Might her story – the self-reflection at the heart of this diary – be a potentially worthwhile example for public policy today?
She is a longtime drug abuser. Illegal drugs are at the core of America’s crime infestation, particularly the foreign-connected gangs that rule and destroy our urban areas. As a consumer, her story is relevant.
She has been plagued with relationship problems, admittedly due at least in part to her sex addiction. At a time when the nuclear family is under assault, when marriage rates are low and divorce rates are high, when our society is realizing that it is reaping the damage that the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s sewed, the origin story of such a case is certainly relevant to public policy.
She suffers from some form of mental illness, at a time, a very month now, when mental illness is on the front page every day, as we all struggle to understand why so many young people act out violently, plotting to kill Supreme Court justices, shooting up schools and synagogues and malls… We are talking about throwing out the very Bill of Rights on which our nation was built. We have criminalized the freedom of assembly and freedom of religion that literally made us America, and we openly discuss abolishing the 2nd Amendment that protected the nation throughout its existence, all from fear of facilitating, enabling, or even triggering the mentally ill. Surely studying the causes is worth doing before taking such drastic, nation-endangering action.
Why do people turn out this way? Not to point fingers, not to be accusatory, but there IS a public policy reason to care about this specific origin story. Ours is a nation founded on the great protestant work ethic and the rugged individualism that settled the frontier and achieved the pinnacle of Western Civilization. And still, we see some of its children fail in life, falling victim to addiction, and losing their way, despite all the advantages.
If this can happen, even to a child of privilege, we – as a society – should care to investigate the reasons why. Not to attack her, of course, but to learn from the experience.
She clearly thinks there was something wrong with her upbringing, or she wouldn’t have written it down. Ashley Biden may indeed have left that book behind, perhaps even subconsciously, as a cry for help, to let this story become public before it’s too late, much as has been theorized about her brother’s similar clumsy abandonment of an evidence-filled laptop a year or so earlier.
And once we do study this story – if we find that there were in fact issues of grave concern in the way that Joe and Jill Biden raised their children – then we must be open to the logical lessons that the story provides.
For fifty years, the nation watched – those who were paying attention – and witnessed Joe Biden the Senator, and Joe Biden the Presidential candidate, then Joe Biden the Vice President, do things that looked creepy, and it was dismissed by saying, “that’s just Joe being Joe.” He’s touchy-feely, that’s all. He’s one of these “closeup” politicians, that’s all. He connects with kids, that’s all. It’s not like he’d ever do anything wrong.
Even when it became well known that he had broken the most basic of academic rules, by massive plagiarism (no, not the kind that can be explained away, but huge sections of pilfered text, unattributed), the press and the left excused him. That’s just Joe.
Even when, as the internet filled up with photos and videos of the aging politician looking creepier and creepier, and doing so with previously unimagined boldness, on a dais with cameras rolling, no less… the press and the left continued to excuse him. That’s just Joe.
Even when there were substantial allegations of corruption – his brother and son getting million-dollar paydays that were utterly inexplicable outside of trading on Joe Biden’s political clout – the press and the left excused him. That’s just his kid or his brother; it’s not Joe.
And when there were previously hushed-up allegations of rape, such as of his former staffer Tara Reade? No witnesses, no pictures, if there’s no video, it didn’t happen. Cover it up. That can’t be Joe.
In 2020, without vetting, this basement-dwelling old man was carefully lifted, not by his own efforts – he barely lifted a finger in his final campaign – but by the powers-that-be in the Democratic Party, to place in the Oval Office despite that 50-year-record of peculiar and suspicious behavior. When a worried public questioned this peculiar elevation, we were told “there’s nothing to see here, mind your own business.”
We see how objectively terrible a job the man is doing in office. We see his incompetence at a podium, his uselessness in summits with foreign leaders, his horrendous appointments, and utter disregard for his oath of office.
And we have to wonder: were there perhaps signs, long ago, in his family life, that could have told everyone – even those on the left – that this is not the guy to lift up toward higher office?
The FBI is harassing journalists. The press is burying the story. We are forced to turn to foreign sources like the Daily Mail, and cable news shows like Tucker Carlson, to get critical news on the character and behavior of the man in the Oval Office.
It shouldn’t be that way.
And that’s why this story matters.
We need to find out how far back Joe Biden’s corruption goes. How far back the coverup of his behavior goes. How many in power, and how many in the mainstream media, have been complicit in hiding his truth from the public, preventing the electorate, first in Delaware and then in the entire country, from making a truly informed choice whenever this man was on the ballot.
The lessons of Ashley’s showers with her father, the lessons of her diary, her brother’s laptop, and everything else that contributes to the aura of corruption around Joe Biden, may tell us a great deal about our society and its elites over this past half-century.
About forty years ago, the great American novelist Gregory Mcdonald wrote “Fletch and the Man Who,” a tale of a presidential candidate and the crimes that occurred in the wake of his campaign. Though primarily a comic crime novel, it included some serious points, and one that has stuck for forty years is the idea that if a candidate cannot be trusted to raise his children right, perhaps that just might be a warning to the voters that he shouldn’t be trusted with high office either.
Copyright 2022 John F Di Leo
John F. Di Leo is a Chicagoland-based trade compliance trainer and transportation manager, writer, and actor. A one-time county chairman of the Milwaukee County Republican Party, he has been writing regularly for Illinois Review since 2009.
A collection of John’s Illinois Review articles about vote fraud, The Tales of Little Pavel, and his 2021 political satires about current events, Evening Soup with Basement Joe, Volumes One and Two, are available, in either paperback or eBook, only on Amazon.
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