Friday, October 3, 2008

Who am I to think that I'm so special?

I stayed up way too late last night watching the VP debate. I found that I was riveted by the brilliance of one candidate and the incoherency of the other. I'm not going to make any other political comments here, but I was struck by an emotional moment during the debate.

And that moment came when Sen. Biden talked about the loss of his wife and child during an accident. I knew that Sen. Biden had lost his wife and a young daughter during a tragic auto accident early in his senate career. His two sons were critically injured in the accident, but both eventually made full recoveries. What I hadn't realized was that the accident left Biden filled with both anger and religious doubt: "I liked to [walk around seedy neighborhoods] at night when I thought there was a better chance of finding a fight ... I had not known I was capable of such rage ... I felt God had played a horrible trick on me."

Supposedly what helped break his rift with God was a cartoon his father, Joe Biden Sr., gave him. It showed "Hagar the Horrible" blasted by lightning. The bubble read, "Why me, God" - and the answer: "Why not." Biden says: "I realized, who am I to think that I'm so special?"

I've read that in the aftermath of the accident, he had trouble focusing on work, and appeared to just go through the motions of being a senator. A single father for five years, Biden left standing orders that he be interrupted in the Senate at any time if his sons called. In remembrance of the accident, Biden does not work on December 18. It was clear from his emotional mention of the tragedy last night that such an event was life changing for him.

I've also read that he has never taken a drink in his life because alcoholism is so prevalent in his extended Irish-Catholic family. In these times when everything is so scripted and the political stakes are so high, I find it refreshing to see a man express honesty and emotion over his loss and have enough understanding about alcoholism to realize it's disastrous effects.


  1. Bless you...I felt exactly the same way as you. I hope it won't be in vain....I feel it will be tragic if it is.

  2. There is alsorts going on in america at the moment aint there, hey its you lots fault if it wasnt for those sub prime mortgages all the financial markets wouldnt have collapsed and "I" wouldnt of lost my job, now thats ego talking in it, but it is crazy times and it feels even more poignient to me.
    But it all happens in gods plan and it was getting boring there

  3. I hope that our kids will heed our warnings about alcoholism in our family. All we can do is teach them well, the rest is up to them.

  4. I very much liked the story of the hagar cartoon - why not indeed! Here is wishing you a wonderful weekend. Cat

  5. I too was very touched by his story and I felt he was much more real and likable than old soccer...i mean hockey mom. This is a wonderful post you have written.

  6. As a teen I hated being called special. I'm still not comfortable with the word. Either we're all special, or no one is.
    Anyway, that's what I thought of when I read this post. Thanks for sharing. I fell asleep after about 45 minutes of the debate.
    Have a good weekend Syd.

  7. I didn't know that about Biden and alcohol. He's wiser than I thought and I already liked him quite a bit.

    I couldn't help but be judgemental(AGAIN) when I noticed how show-y Palin is about her motherhood and how restrained Biden is about his fatherhood.

  8. I thank you so much for this post! And I found that I felt such compassion for Biden as he shared this part of his life!
    Thank you for this and the reminder of "why not".


  9. thanks for posting that story. made me stop and think.

  10. Whenever I hear someone bemoan the why me thing in the rooms, I always say to myself, 'why not?' Life happens to every one, and it sure is different when we are not anethestized (sp?)

  11. Thanks for sharing this. I did not watch the debate so I had not heard about this.

    Hope your enjoying your weekend!


  12. You are special.

    I watched that debate too.

    Life is no debate any way you look at it..too bad some people never step down from their high horses in humility and just enjoy today.

    Fire up the sailboat..let's all go for a spin! beep! beep!

  13. I watched some of the debate but I did not know any of this, Syd.

    Such a tragedy.

    My boss just told me on Friday that she lost one of her two sons at age 7 to a drunk driver. It gave me chills.

    I was telling her about Michael. After she told me about her son I said, "Well then Susan you certainly know pain." I can't imagine.....well, maybe I can.

  14. Its Sunday here in my kingdom and we are watching chitty chitty bang bang, buttercup is making a chicken curry and luke is moping about.
    my bedroom looks like a bomb site and another week of work where i wonder what im doing there?

  15. That debate just confirmed my confidence in Joe Biden. When there was all that controversary about the VP pick I was happy because originally I wanted Biden for Pres so his pick as VP is perfect in my eyes. I didn't know that about the alcohol and that just makes my feelings about his charachter and strength all the more compelling.

    The best headline on the debate I saw was Palin: Attitude and Image, Biden: Facts & Focus. I guess we'll find out very soon what this country feels is more important.


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