If you are human, then at some point in your life you will suffer through a moment of hypocrisy. In fact, you’ll probably have many of them.
But for some reason, we’ve decided that it’s not nice to point out when people are being dishonest, self-serving and short of memory.
Take the mess that is Joe Biden’s family. I’ve admired Biden for a long time for being such a good father and a decent man. But now comes word that his surviving son Hunter, who is separated from but still legally married to his wife, is dating the widow of his brother Beau, who died tragically in 2015 after battling brain cancer.
The details are sketchy, and it’s possible that the time line makes their relationship less offensive and jarring than it would appear at first glance, but papa Joe and mama Jill came out publicly to give their blessing to the arrangement.
Now, you could say that it’s none of our business how this former Second Family conducts itself when it’s no longer in office (even though the affair apparently started while Joe was still the veep). You could say that we have no right to judge grieving people. You could even say I’m a bitter woman for bringing it up.
But while you are saying these things, it is important that you also remember those vicious comments you made about Donald Trump being an adulterous pig, about his wife being an illegal alien strumpet, about his son being an autistic pseudo-orphan and about his daughter being a robotic sister wife. You cannot lash out at me, who considers Hunter and Hallie to be incredibly insensitive to the chaos and carnage they are creating for their children, while railing against our president and his relatives. I mean, you could. But you’d be a raging hypocrite.
Then there’s the subject of religious bigotry. Last week, a bridge that Villanova University wanted to build came under fire because it was going to be adorned with two massive crosses at either end. I complained on Philadelphia radio that it seemed the push back had overtones of anti-Catholicism, especially where one of the critics said she didn’t want “crosses shoved down [her] throat.”
Some people agreed with me that it reeked of religious bigotry. But I got a lot of emails telling me that I owed every Jew and Muslim in the Delaware Valley an apology because Catholics in particular and Christians in general were in the majority and weren’t the victims of discrimination since the 1800s (when the Know Nothings burned down our churches and killed a few of us for good measure).
I was told that the recent spate of hate crimes and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries and the vicious treatment of ethnic minorities was much worse than anything my “people” had suffered. The vitriol was a bit surprising, but not entirely unexpected.
But what happened to the barely mentioned story of the desecration of Catholic headstones at Holy Redeemer Cemetery in Philadelphia?
Hateful attacks on one person because of his or her religion (or skin color, or nationality) is a hateful attack on everyone who is “the other.” There is no difference between a swastika painted on a Jewish headstone and the desecration of the statue of the Virgin Mary. None.
Unfortunately, too many people create artificial categories of people who deserve the most protection, the most sympathy, the most tolerance. They do it with the randy children of former vice presidents, and they do it with religious “majorities” who are insensitive to the psychic harm they cause when forcing crosses down the throats of unsuspecting pedestrians.
I’m becoming increasingly disgusted with the way people have cauterized the raw parts of their brains, the parts that do the honest and most painful reasoning, to get rid of any inconsistency that makes their life uncomfortable. Yes, Hunter Biden is cheating on his wife with his sister-in-law. But daddy says it’s okay, so it’s okay because we love daddy, but Donald Trump is an orange-haired Blue Beard who runs through women like he runs through self-tanner.
Yes, Catholics are being targeted, but we won’t admit it because they have such an annoying religion, but we must be vigilant when Jews, Muslims and all other minority groups are being threatened. It’s a little inconsistent, but that’s all a part of being human.
Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, and can be reached at email@example.com.