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.