162 Comments
Dec 9, 2023Liked by Steven Beschloss

Compassion is critical in our leaders - and in all of us - if we are to live successfully in society. More, it’s an indicator of high intelligence, because it’s transcends judgment. President Biden demonstrates this daily.

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Dec 9, 2023Liked by Steven Beschloss

Clearly and totally agree. Biden is, above all else, a very decent man. However, a lot of time, he talks policy. Of course, appropriate. But my question - just that -- do you think Biden (the very polished DC deal maker) connects with people when he gives addresses to the nation? His state of the union talk was masterful display of dealing with errant politics. And maybe the comparison isn't fair. But Clinton, and Reagan, for all their faults, seemed to connect with average people when they gave national addresses. Obama of course did. Is Biden maybe too much of a techno-crat? DC insider? Just asking since I think he should be more popular, notwithstanding the daily onslaught of insults about his age, physical capacity, and mental acuity.

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Dec 9, 2023Liked by Steven Beschloss

I’ll preface this by saying first that he is by inclination a politician imo. Inclined to be, intended to be, was. He’s grown though more into someone with a deeper perception of what the role of a leader in government can be and has moved toward it - that being someone who has a capacity for grasping nuances and acting on them to raise as many up as he can through policy. He needn’t be as charismatic as Obama (few are capable I think) or even Clinton, who like it or not had the focus and the charm to hold an audience. I never could stand the aw shucks bullshit of Reagan but I get what you mean.

Biden has grown as a human being and into some serious stature as a leader. Saying I find him someone who looks at situations and sees down into the human beings affected I don’t think is bring disingenuous. I’m not blinded by idolatry of anyone. He sees soldiers, for instance, through the lens of a loss so deep he see them as to be treasured as children of the nation. He sees families and attempted to continue supporting them through child credits. He see the outsiders and knows who they are because his son was so nearly lost to him by addiction.

But he’s also charged with keeping our national interests in mind in decision making. Not because he is depraved but he sees through a wider lens. His/our choice to support Israel and Ukraine despite fallout on civilians in Gaza, for instance, must be predicated on support of what is our literal base of operations in the region, Israel, the stated goal of Hamas to continue their attempts to eliminate our friends and allies, Israel (as opposed to Netanyahu).

As I see it this way he’s our only hope right now. Maybe someday we will be intelligent enough to support someone like Buttigieg, but that’s going to take a while. I think if Biden interacts within the small town in red states he can transcend the issues of age.

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So eloquent Patris. And so well-said. As he says, "don't compare me to the all-mighty. compare me to the alternative." . . . It's an impossible job. Strengths in some areas perceived as weaknesses in other areas . . . . Separately, I wish there would be some push back, on humanistic grounds, of the daily onslaught of personal / unjustified attacks. Respect for leaders -- when deserved -- should go with the office. Cruel, dehumanizing gratuitous, personal attacks, is a product of the mid-east (Hamas, Isis). Complete and utter lack of respect for human beings is a product of terrorist groups. But in America? By people whose lives are so fulfilled in so many ways? Why are these people so hard-wired to hate? Just once, maybe x-mas eve, it would be nice to hear people, surrounded by beauty, wealth, abundance, give thanks for those trying to make the world a better place.

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Patris you’ve so eloquently stated what I think so many of us feel about this man we call our president you have just articulated it so well. Thank you.

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Thank you Lisa.

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Of the many comments in this thread, yours rings the most true. Joe Biden is, first and foremost, a human being with flaws like all of us. As a political leader, he has learned how to balance his humanity with the realities of our society. Unfortunately, there are those in our society that see empathy and compassion as weaknesses. But, without those human qualities, we would have destroyed ourselves long ago.

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I could not have written anything better than this, Patris. You captured my feelings beautifully.

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I think so many of us feel this way, Marlene. Thank you though

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Thank you, Patris, for voicing what my heart feels so deeply. You seem able to hear my inmost thoughts and express them in a way that is profoundly true. Thank you, not only for myself, but for your unflagging belief in our President. You comfort me when I feel crushed by the negativity, and when I can't find the words to say Why I believe in Joe and his integrity so deeply. Your compassion is obviously matched by his own, else you wouldn't be able to see and describe it so very well. Thank you. <3

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I am very touched, Lauri, I think I only voiced what so many of us feel.

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You can measure a man by the company he keeps. In this case Israel under Netanyahu. "...despite fallout on civilians in Gaza...", you tacitly approve of Biden's support of this genocide, the "fallout" of which is the entirely intentional slaughter of 10s of 1000s of innocent Palestinians.

We just sent thousands of tank rounds to the IDF. We intend to send them an additional $14.5B in military aid, as if they needed it to carry out Netanyahu's pogrom to destroy Gaza and its dehumanized people, including 7000+ children. all in the name of maintaining "our literal base of operations in the region".

It's all very moving I suppose, a father's compassion for his son. But let's be clear that Biden's good-guy compassion does not extend to the Palestinians. Apparently, their deaths are justified, even required, in our "national interest" – not a small part of which is perpetuating our vast production of military hardware for sale to the world. Gaza is a genocide and Biden is deeply complicit.

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Israel has its conscience to deal with but also a duty to remove the gun from the hands of Hamas pointed at its innocent citizens.im not talking legitimate grievances against ultra orthodox outliers who are robbing Palestinians of their homes or the corrupt criminal I consider Netanyahu to be.

Will Hamas come out and either surrender or fight without hiding behind innocent human shields? Return hostages whose only sin is being innocent human targets of bullets and tape?

We are providing Israel’s defense forces with materials to not only fight for its survival against Hamas - they are ready to stand against Russian inspired forces from half a dozen surrounding countries threatening them. This is a policy decision supplying a steadfast ally.

Do I abhor the death of children? Absolutely.

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What ever else may be true, Israel is not fighting against Hamas for its "survival". Hamas has no chance against the overwhelming power of Israeli planes, bombs, missiles, tanks, drones, artillery & navy. No, it's using its power to finally rid itself of the people it has colonized and brutalized for 50 years. This no longer a defensive war, it is deadly collective punishment without mercy of Palestinian "vermin", "two-legged animals".

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I’ll defer further opinion except to say Israel didn’t go to Palestine (they are ethnically the same people btw) to throw anyone out but to seek refuge.

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No. It’s because Joe has this huge psychotic gorilla always 10 feet away that takes all the attention. Biden behaves in a remarkably honorable and effective way. He is getting things done. He WOULD be noticed and noticed well if not for the psychotic gorilla.

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Hi Susan, "psychotic gorilla" gets all the attention -our Joe just get things done!

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Unfortunately, Trump learned at a very early age at the squeaky wheel gets the grease--since he wanted all the grease, he's determined to be the squeakiest wheel of all! 🙄

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I believe he does break free of being a “techno-crat” many times. Every time there is a national tragedy, a mass shooting or devastating fire, he goes and meets with the people of the community. He meets with the families in private. When did TFG ever do that? When he walked the picket line with the strikers, when loudly and forcefully spoke in support of Israel after October 7. He is also restrained in attacks on himself and son by deranged individuals.

No, this man connects with people, on a one on one human level.

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Of course he connects, that’s why he has a 17% approval rating.

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No. he does not, if you see it for his family that is his focus, not the public. You are in a media dream world, very sad.

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Dec 9, 2023·edited Dec 9, 2023

Vicki, you could not be more wrong. If you are not seeing Biden's compassion, you are not paying attention. If your comment was directed at Patris' comment about his intelligence, you are also not paying attention. He has directed the most significant administration, of either party, in decades.

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I have been paying attention to him for decades. Bewildered by your comments but I don't have time to change your mind, nor do I want to. He has done nothing but further us toward oblivion as a strong and majestic nation. A leader of the free world...going going g.......

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How exactly is compassion for a troubled child (apart from any other sense of compassion) sending us to oblivion? What exactly has the "focus" on his family done to affect the fate of the country? Is compassion in such limited supply that having it for a child takes up all available energy to do one's job?

You DO have to "list the ways" if you want anyone to pay any attention at all to your opinion.

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Susan, excellent reply to Vicky, but she won't get it. Don't feed the troll...

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I know she won't get it. Anyone who feels horror at white male persecution in this country will never get it. But I do try to instill a sliver of doubt in trolls before blocking them. If they DO respond as I ask, I find their warped reasoning fascinating. But they rarely do. Just continue mindless bloviation.

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What or who is your alternative then?

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founding

Vicki you are on the wrong Substack. Respectfully, it is shocking you can’t acknowledge that Joe demonstrates compassion publicly almost daily for Ukrainians (which is my heritage), the poor and disadvantaged (from which I emerged), women and minorities who are discriminated against hourly and daily, the undereducated, rural folks who need better infrastructure, and on and on! The contrast with his opponent is indisputable.

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That is your opinion only as mine is. I am shocked you could even think much good about this administration which has us well on the way to oblivion. The discrimination saga is now aimed at White men (who by the way, have pretty much built this country with the constitution,etc.,) and schools are everywhere and generally close or reachable by bus. Get up, get dressed, show up and apply your brains. It's free. The opponent had our country on it's way to being an independent, strong and viable nation unless you listen to corporate run media (newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, etc.) who no longer believe in equal and actual news, not opinions and spew hate and many many things taken out of context. I thought Obama was playing a joke on us when he appointed biden for his VP as his rep in DC is less than stellar. Bleeding heart liberals have bought this garbage when it is plain to see that we are in dire straits. I don't have to list the ways, they are apparent. Normal people are afraid for their lives and don't go out at night, to theatres or to events for fear of the criminal element running wild. (Macy's stabbing in Philadelphia). But enough...you are not paying attention to reality. Good luck.

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founding

No point in responding!Stay safe Vicki

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Beautiful response Ira. No point feeding the troll any further....

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Your hateful ignorance and poor manners are here for all to see. Especially men like you who put down women. "When people show you who they are"...thank you Maya.

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"Vicki" might be a "Victor" -white male troll -possibly Russian.

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You people are sad and these posts show that...wow. I guess you saw the movie, Victor Victoria, lol.

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“Bleeding heart liberals”?? They have actually brought us most if not all the advances in medical research, engineering and technology. You live in a world here (despite your prejudice), of human beings devoted to the constitution and the rule of law. Flawed but at least resisting being dipped into narrow paths of bigotry and resentment at any thought not devoted to the ascendancy of one particular race or religion. I fear for those who appear blind to the greatness of this country of ours - which I say as a descendant of immigrants. You fear shadows.

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Responses like the above are not based on fact. Amazing, people write this fiction for people to read. Intelligent people go to work and their children attend school. People who are unhappy with their own life need to get help and let the rest of us enjoy our lives.

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Dec 9, 2023·edited Dec 11, 2023

Not based on fact … That is why there are no facts to support the opinions to go with the insults, adjectives and negativity.

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And you did a good job with same...go girl.

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Oh! What you're rabbiting on about, Vicki, is that White Dude don't get ENOUGH consideration? And that we need MORE bigotry, not less, because all your "negative" examples are about minorities, I can't help but notice....

I'd say 600 years at the top of the Western Heap, and 300 years at the top of the Global Heap, is enough "consideration" for anybody—and that maybe now, it's time to learn if Straight White Males ever learned how to share.

I doubt it will change YOUR mind because you're already locked into your White Supremacist Mindset, but for everybody else? Here's a piece popular SF author/social critic John Scalzi wrote years ago on his "Whatever" Blog about Straight White Men in videogame terms:

https://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/05/15/straight-white-male-the-lowest-difficulty-setting-there-is/

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White Supremacist, lol, keep watching CNN...you make me laugh and sigh at the same time. White Males did what to you? Let us see your photo so we can judge...isn't that just all silliness? There is no bigotry in facts, get out your Civics books and read American History. Oh, right, they don't teach that anymore because they are more worried about your pronoun and gender ID. Oh, dear.

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Well, you're proving that there is bigotry in how your choose to INTERPRET those facts!

So you're all pissed off about Transpersons? THAT is your big deal?

Are you J.K. Rowling's sock puppet, by any chance...?

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Just an important interjection, Vicki. Black men built this country & economy after we slaughtered the native people. Just a jolt of reality.

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Wow, you are a wild one aren't you? Talk about exaggeration. They all helped and native people are doing just fine with casinos and just like everyone in the nation; some people are poor and some are rich and most or many are in between. Get a grip.

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Go crack a book🙄

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I disagree with you emphatically.

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RemovedDec 9, 2023·edited Dec 9, 2023
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Wow. But sure. I think Russian soldiers could be rescued and aimed back at their tormentor, Putin.

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Wish I could. Still can’t imagine this isn’t a strategic goal at some point if not already. Watching Ukraine fight for their lives with such ferocity is incredible, isn’t it.

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Unlikely, since Russia keeps a group at the rear to kill deserters.

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Dec 9, 2023Liked by Steven Beschloss

Compassion, empathy, love and respect are all important qualities for each of us and especially for the leader of our Nation. President Biden has them all.

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Dec 9, 2023Liked by Steven Beschloss

It's so important in anyone, anywhere. The news about the latest affront by whomever on Hunter Biden knocked the pegs out from under me. I'm still enraged, it's as if they know that what they are doing will hurt Joe Biden more than anything else could. I see no humanity in their action only petty violence against it. It was the last straw for me. I've tried desperately to say "oh well this to will pass" but I'm so done with them. There is no compassion in the people who run the Republican Party or in the person who's decision it was to take this road, none. I have voted in every election since I was 21, that 58 years, but I would not vote for a Republican if it were my only choice, not ever.

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Yes Linda. They are weaponizing the DOJ and accusing Dems of doing it. Projection and "but so are you" distracting....

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I have never voted Republican, and certainly never will at this point. The party has become one of hatred and fear.

The Biden Administration has tried - and succeeded - at doing things that benefit our nation. A Republican Party Administration, under Trump specifically, will do everything it can to hurt the majority of our citizenry.

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Dec 9, 2023Liked by Steven Beschloss

It is hugely important for all politicians, from the School Board up to the Presidency. These people are elected to whatever office to serve the people in whatever level district they represent. How can they serve people if they don't care about them?

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Hi Dawn! I completely agree with you. But I have a question I hope you can help me with...when the hardline 🤡 crew come in and ban books, ban history, ban lgbtq rights, shut down nat'l & state programs, they don't use the terms or phrases "we hate", it's always approached as we care for children & future generations. Although these lies are wrapped in a disintegrating bow of fake compassion, it's often the people who need the benefits the most who get hurt.

How do we convince them that the compassion they're "recieving" isn't real before they suffer even more at the hands of selfish individuals who only care for themselves?

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Hi GL. You have a good handle on this part of the problem. If I may jump in on your question to Dawn?

It is next to impossible. The grateful receivers of republican "help" and lies usually have turned from 'receivers' into 'believers.' Too much effort required to turn them with eleven months to go.

We must instead reach Dems and Independents who haven't voted lately, with postcards and phone banking from voter lists, canvassing, and demonstrating. Many excellent organizations to choose from who will train and equip you. I suggest Field Team 6, Indivisible, Seniors Taking Action. Proven results from each of these organizations and so many others. Many groups are actively registering new voters, and many are working the rich ground of millions of our beautiful brand new 18+ year-olds who respond to climate, women's rights, and gun control issues.

Take your pick and dive in! We'll work around the believing receivers and full-on cult members and white nationalist 'Christians.' They are still the minority of voters, and fully vaccinated against truth.

Put on the blinders and don't be distracted or depressed by side issues like independent candidates, or clowns in congress, or the "supreme" court, or the media!

Run full steam ahead on the White House and congressional majorities we CAN achieve--if everyone GETS BUSY. NOW.

Thanks for letting me butt in. Good luck and Godspeed to us all....

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Your suggestions are invaluable, Gus! I’m glad that you did “butt in”, because it’s important to get more blue voters working together at this critical time. The holidays may put that on hold for a few weeks, but encouraging people to do what they can from January until November can make the difference. It will be extraordinarily important because then it will only be 10 months until the November 5th election.

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Hello There Gus! It's definitely easy to get in your own head & try to make sense of things, especially when you're the only one in the family who hasn't gone down the "right" trail. Thank you for sharing these options, there are a few in here I recognize!

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I see all that banning stuff differently. The “banners” say they care about kids, future, etc, but 1) they only care about kids that are like theirs (and I wonder how it’s going to go when some of their kids come out gay, for instance), 2) and they want the future to look a lot like the past.

Have you noticed that not many of those “banners” are people of color, for instance? The banners have the goal of marginalizing and “other-ing” everyone who doesn’t fit their mold. I think the people who are gratefully receiving the banning are much like the banners - everyone else, not so much. They see that it is about exerting control and and trying to turn us backwards in time.

Fortunately - not gonna happen.

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Yes, I have noticed that. Last weekend, the committee that runs the State of Texas GOP essentially said we're totally cool with White Supremacist's, they voted on it. The members on the committee were ok voting on it, but some didn't want it public...fools. The Texas Tribune wrote about it.

Thank You for helping me see where I was getting caught up in the 🤡 crew's compassion games.

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Dec 9, 2023Liked by Steven Beschloss

Compassion is absolutely necessary - otherwise what we get is a sociopathic destroyer. And, contrary to the belief of many ignorant people, sociopaths are not better than compassionate people at managing the economy, foreign relations, border security, or anything else for that matter.

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Compassion is not a weakness. It takes more strength to stand up for individuals that are having physical or mental problems. The president was just being a good father!

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Yes, compassion is an admirable virtue but an able leader, when dealing with other leaders or state matters, must be able to balance the compassion from his heart with logic from his head. I believe Pres Biden has that balance. I believe you do as well.

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When I hear the attacks on President Biden I think about the great Jimmy Carter. The republican machine smeared him too and he turned out to be not just a great president but a great human in the decades before and after. I think there's a lesson there: It isn't the office that defines the president, it's what he (someday she) brings to it that defines the presidency.

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For me character matters above all when it comes to the friends I have and the leaders i choose. It's shameful that so many "Republicans" have turned their backs on the basic American values that once held us together. Someday soon, Trump will be gone, but their shame will be with them forever.

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Compassion is the engine of the heart-to-conversation. It allows us to forget our differences and recognise the pain of the other. From this, you can give an authentic response and feel a sense of belonging to the human community.

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Totally agree. Compassion at any level is about listening to what’s behind the words. A good leader tries to hear the needs of their constituents even when they’re expressed angrily. The needs of their colleagues, even when they disagree. And the needs of their enemies, even when they’re violent.

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Humanity needs compassion because we are all flawed. Americans are foolish to expect perfection of their leaders. Those who claim to be perfect tell the most transparent lie possible. Presidential pardons grant leave of just sentences out of compassion in special circumstances when administered wisely. Abuse of pardon power was one more proof of inhumanity and immorality in DJT. In this feature, as in others, the choice is clear between a kind person and a cruel one.

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He was selling pardons--even more depraved!

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founding

In a perfect world, compassion and empathy would not only be desirable in politicians, but a prerequisite for holding office. Any learned psychologist could surely devise an appropriate test.

Sadly, we don't live in that world, and the majority of the current leadership, certainly in the GOP, proves itself to be morally bankrupt and devoid of one iota of empathy for their constituents. At the federal level, the GOP House introduces not a single bill to benefit Americans; instead, they blindly follow Trump's directives to exact his revenge and retribution. At the state level, GOP lawmakers blatantly ignore their constituents' wishes. Over and over, polls show the majority of voters are against abortion bans, yet Republicans continue to introduce increasingly restrictive bans. New Hampshire just introduced a bill for no abortions after 15 days. Days!

Last week the Senate introduced a bill to ban assault weapons and to require background checks, something most voters want. Republicans quashed the bill, the same week the United States reached a grim record for the most mass shootings since 2006. Did we feel any empathy or compassion from the GOP? No; only empty platitudes offering 'thoughts and prayers'—let's be clear, for blood on the GOP's own NRA-beholden gun-toting hands.

For these reasons among many it is essential we have a leader such as Joe Biden who has the empathy to feel, truly feel, what his constituents are going through. He understands pain, loss, and struggle and has the compassion to care about that pain in others. Is this as important as the ability to govern? It is part of that ability, and what makes Biden a more effective leader. I also submit that there is no one in U.S. politics that better understands U.S. policy, bipartisanship, economics, Constitutional integrity, and geopolitics.

If we are to maintain our grand experiment of democracy in the United States, it is a moral imperative that we elect leaders with compassion and empathy. This is still a beautiful nation with much for which to hope, but we must work together to elect those who can lead us into realizing that future.

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Silvija, you just wrote all we need to know in one single comment!!

Everything else is just details. Thank you!

Now, we need to be your voice to as many people as we can, in any way that we are able....

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founding

Thank you so much, Gus. Your words are very much appreciated.

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Dec 9, 2023Liked by Steven Beschloss

I'll never understand the vitriol and LGBrandon from the extreme right wing of the GOP and some evangelicals. I feel this man's unconditional Christ like love for his family and country. This writing struck me in the feels when his son walked out of an intervention and his father ran after hom and just held him.

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Julie, when I look at Biden I am looking at a truly rare self-actualized individual. Life and loss has honed and polished this man into one of the best Presidents in the history of our country....

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We don't need beancounters running our country, we need fully-realized people who stand by those they love, through thick and thin.

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Today in the Washington Post, Ruth Marcus discusses the tragic case of Kate Cox, the young woman in Texas who is pregnant with a fetus that has Trisomy 18, a condition that is almost always fatal and that for Ms. Cox, threatens her health and even her life. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is described as someone who deserves "condemnation for his unnecessary, inexplicable cruelty" due to his actions countering the judge who granted Ms. Cox permission to get an abortion and threatening any hospital that allows the procedure while taking the issue to the Texas Supreme Court.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/12/08/texas-abortion-heartbeat-law-kate-cox-ken-paxton/

Apparently in Texas compassion is a weakness and must be extinguished from politicians. Who cares how much its citizens suffer?

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It’s that old “macho cowboy” image that comes to mind. Paxton is a liar and cheat. No telling how many women he has gotten abortions for.

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Dec 9, 2023Liked by Steven Beschloss

So well written Steven...huge kudos to you. We are all so fortunate to live in a time under this administration that is led by an empath. I will grant you that POTUS is not perfect but what an accomplished, driven person to take our divided country to places that we have only dreamed of. And to have a Leader with such a predominant empathy and understanding. We are so lucky. Now to just hope that POTUS and his staff and re-election group can rally enough momentum and support to allow President Biden to lead us for four more years. The country needs him; we all do.

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Ralph, and he needs US. We are the key to his momentum....

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You are correct! We are in this together and we must work together!

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Compassion is a top priority for any leader. Without compassion there is no true leadership qualification.

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Dec 9, 2023·edited Dec 9, 2023

In a tremendous coincidence, I was listening to an episode of Preet Bharara's podcast earlier today and he had a conversation with Jonathan Karl about his new book. At one point Karl quoted a former high level Trump official who had written himself a computer note characterizing Trump, which was later shared it with the author:

“He lacks any shred of human decency, humility or caring. He is morally bankrupt, breathtakingly dishonest, lethally incompetent, and stunningly ignorant of virtually anything related to governing, history, geography, human events or world affairs. He is a traitor and a malignancy in our nation and represents a clear and present danger to our democracy and the rule of law.”

And that's what people *inside* his administration were thinking. The people closest to him, presumably "on his team" who you would think he'd have even the tiniest human motivation to treat with decency.

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I think compassion and empathy are important in any public service. Sadly, 15%-20% of the population thinks it is a weakness.

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Dec 10, 2023Liked by Steven Beschloss

It seems to me that compassion for others is a necessary character of fully functioning humans and is necessary for society to flourish. It seems today Politicians who lie, name call, bear fault witness and show no basic decency are ubiquitous. I believe we should shun and avoid (and never vote for)such persons.

Perhaps compassion is seen by some as a weakness- particularly in authoritarian nations. However the great American presidents: Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt and others cared, showed magnanimity and were successful because their actions and policies brought citizens together improving the public welfare and nation.

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Dec 10, 2023Liked by Steven Beschloss

This post, Steven, affected me because my family, like millions of others, knows what having a family member with an addiction is like. It's maddening and heartbreaking all at the same time. President Biden loves his son unconditionally. That is the ultimate act of compassion. He can still touch him, tell him he loves him every day, and be there for him. My family member was found dead a day before his 36th birthday, a newlywed and father of 2 young children who will now grow up without their dad. He struggled with addiction most of his life and tried so hard, but...no guarantees in life. I believe that Pres. Biden is a caring and compassionate man ultimately trying to do everything he can to better our lives and do his best for the world.

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Dec 10, 2023Liked by Steven Beschloss

Love and compassion are two of the most important qualities that the president must have. We saw the same thing with JFK, with Obama, and now with President Biden, whose transcend just his immediate family to the rest of the country and the world. He’s experienced deep loss and pain and it makes him easily relate to those who are suffering the same.

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Dec 9, 2023Liked by Steven Beschloss

Beautiful piece and a crucial query, Steven. I believe empathy (compassion) is a crucial requirement for effective leadership. Without empathy, the would-be leader is untethered from any sort of self-control. He has no “heart” and no “soul.” His decisions are invariably wrong. He has no ability to inspire others. And he is useless in any sort of crisis. He’s simply an ego. That’s why he’s diagnosed as a malignant narcissist.

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author

Thank you, John. Could not agree more...as you might suspect.

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Dec 10, 2023Liked by Steven Beschloss

I really love this post. When so many on Substack scream Biden needs to show strength, this is the first I’ve read on showing compassion. We are all forgivable humans and the capacity to attach to others with compassion is our only hope. That is not my opinion that is science. Relationship will always be the answer. Please America wake up and see that a mentally ill former guy has the capacity to attach to no one. He will not see you. Compassion is utterly alien to him. This is a life or death choice. I’m voting for the compassionate guy.

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Dec 10, 2023Liked by Steven Beschloss

This discussion hasn't been far from my mind in the 24 hours since Steven posted it. From my view point, our country and every one of us, is approaching a crossroads. Will the direction we choose be decided by anger, fear, and hate? Or from a place of acceptance and compassion towards each other. The time for choosing our future direction is quickly approaching. I'm choosing compassion.

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Dec 10, 2023Liked by Steven Beschloss

Papa died in 1964. He was 54. I was 15. In the few years that I had him, although he was sick most of that time, he provided me and my sister with lessons in love and compassion. I miss him. Of course, I would support a politician who exhibited those qualities; but, of course, that politician needs to have other qualities, like truth telling, empathy, humility and the like. Kind of like Mr. Biden.

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Dec 10, 2023Liked by Steven Beschloss

Thank you, sir. This is a beautifully written piece about a true American hero. President Biden shows, on a daily basis, what a real leader looks like. He deserves our respect for all he’s been through and continues to do for all of us, in the face of all his personal tragedies. Anyone who doesn’t see that is blind to the truth and is just a hater...and we all know what haters do....

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Dec 9, 2023Liked by Steven Beschloss

Steven ..proud to 100%support BIDEN

Believe without Biden we’d have already

Seen our Democracy destroyed and pray Americans VOTE BLUE ..VOTE BIDEN

History will credit Biden as one of top

Presidents we’ve ever had … thanks for

all you do to help us all blessings,Marsha

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Compassion, empathy & sympathy are critically important for elected officials! How else can they best comprehend what we’re going through? The old “walk a mile in my shoes” philosophy! Trump has neither of these characteristics!

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Steve, I write as the Founder of Operation Savannah, a 501c3 that provides recovery support to veterans (families) who battle C-PTSD, and its manifestations, one of which is addiction. We can be found at : https://OperationSavannah.org : if anyone wants to check our credentials. I have C-PTSD from my military service in 1975. Trump dodged the draft, which was more his dad than him, looking at the facts. He has a clear form of dissociative disorder, which manifests in aloofness, and an inability to relate to others. The world to him as how he sees it! On the other side, Biden is surely compassionate, but with that level of compassion comes denial and an inability to objectively evaluate the facts. In reality both are equally dangerous error! In one case the inability to hear advice to soften the position, and in the other the ability to hear the advice to harden their position. If I had to choose which side, it would be to side with compassion, for that person is MORE likely to have sound advisors who will work with them force their voice into the argument. We see this in effect with Biden, who is listening to his advisors on Israel. The UN vetoed the motion for a cease fire. We saw this in effect with Trump. He only listened to his advisors who said what he wanted to hear. On 4th March we will see the courts start their process to determine exactly how that went down.

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America vetoed the UN resolution because there was no language of condemning Hamas. A cease fire must come with a plan for Palestinians and Israelis.

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Thanks, appreciate the clarification.

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Yeah, I try to look for an explanation when it comes to policy. Sometimes I wish I was 40 years younger and working/living in Washington DC. Love, love the energy there and there is so much to learn! Happy holidays,

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Yes, thank you for that! I too, was wondering why we didn’t support the ceasefire. Thank goodness we have a strong woman as our representative in the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

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Alexander, I whole-heartedly agree with your comment, but I haven't noticed--in the more than 50 years that I have been following him--an incidence of "denial or inability to objectively evaluate facts," with the exception of Anita Hill and the Clarence Thomas fiasco. Biden publicly acknowledged and apologized for that a long time ago.

You didn't say whether Biden was afflicted with said negative effects or not; but I felt like the question was left hanging. Am I missing something? I am truly curious here, and open to being corrected, not argumentative at all.

I am a veteran combat medic, maxxed out with PTSD. Good care from the VA. I have never heard of C-PTSD, but I'll get myself educated about it. Meanwhile, I am deeply grateful for any help you can give to my brother and sister soldiers!

I wouldn't wish PTSD on anyone....

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C-PTSD is Complex PTSD, usually associated with those having multiple traumatic incidents. In my case it is the war in Angola where I was an officer, and a mercenary is a nasty war, compounded in 2014 when I lost my daughter to cancer. I am sensitive to noise, especially if it is behind me, I get a fright and irrational anger at the person who caused it. A Harley Davidson starting up behind me is a real challenge, although I have learnt after 24 years of therapy and help to overcome the desire to run into the road and murder the biker. If I turn round, and see them with a young kid, this creates the multiplication effect, known as Complex. The interactions are unpredictable, and can be quite traumatic. This Easter I was in a church looking at a picture sent to me by my sister, of my late mothers memorial. As I opened the image, of my mum holding Stephanie, something sounded behind us. I tried to run out of the church, but literally fell to the floor sobbing, and managed to crawl to the far wall. People thought I was having a heart attack. This was a rare incident and caught me completely off guard. I am fortunate, an sober, have been helped by EMDR and mostly by a disciplined life that includes prayer and thinking ahead to role pay situations I might expect each day. I have chosen to do these mental exercises rather than use medications, as I would rather cope with the emotions than be mildly sedated. To your question on Biden. I was speaking more generally than specifically to Biden and his decision. The area I am most concerned would go to what Hunter was doing, and has actually done, that a father would struggle to see. For example, I have researched the video's of his son's sexual misconduct with an under age minor, where I am pleased to say that this is an AI modified image! I found the original that was modified. But, there are other activities that are most wicked, especially pertaining to Hunter's exploits with his late son's wife, and on this he has to struggle with objectivity. I hope that he has trusted advisors counseling him on what Hunter has probably done, so that he does not deny them publicly, only to find they did happen and then be "accused" of a cover up. There is a reason that ministers are to have one wife, and a family that is following a godly lifestyle. It is why I have 5 people who counsel me as a minister who works with recovery, as its too easy to get emotionally connected and lose objectivity. Hope this helps!

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Yes, thank you.

I have had similar episodes in the past, including irrational anger and noise sensitivity and hyper vigilence. I turned the anger on myself to avoid hurting other people.

I don't do that now, and I also choose no meds, although some of them seemed to work a long time ago.

Thanks for clarifying your post about the negative pitfalls of compassion re: Joe Biden. It certainly helps. His son is another story. No matter what he has done--morally or legally--the republicans are using it against his father. It doesn't seem to be sticking so far, but they will persist and pursue Hunter until they exhaust the issue and us in the process.

It seems that all of us have a troublesome relative, including leaders. Most are well controlled or hidden, but President Carter had Billy, who was right out there for a while at least....

Thanks again, for a great comment.

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Gus, it sounds like you have seen some of the "dirty" sides of military operations. I do not think the human condition equips us for the death, and the harm we can do to each other. I was just reminding my wife, that although we might be having some challenges with family, and the loss of our little dog, and her mother a year ago, we are so well off compared to what is happening in Gaza as I type. I understand that the issues are complex, Israels position, Hamas's position, etc. but its the children and women (all parties) who are caught up, and effectively without choice, in such horrors. Keep in touch, here, at Operation Savannah, every experience shared is an opportunity for someone to find a hope in their situation. We may never know exactly how, but the thought we might help is what gives me purpose to keep writing.

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Alexander, thanks for your note.

Yes I saw a lot of death, in so many ways, so many places. Ground pounder medic with a platoon in the 25th Division. Later at 12th Evac M.A.S.H. post-op ICU.

I will check your website, and try to contribute.

I grieve equally for every Palestinian, Israeli, and Ukrainian civilian who can't get out of the way of what men under orders with heavy weapons can do to them....

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“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” - Dalai Lama XIV

The lack of empathy or compassion is not a rare thing, but, in general, we regard the lack of it a character flaw. It is obvious in their behavior at all levels, and they see the presence of it in real life as weakness.

Standing before a field of fallen soldiers and calling them losers, I think, would show remarkable lack of compassion. Every tyrant and despot reveal it and other character flaws in their their ability to destroy anyone they see as a hindrance to their plans, real or imagined.

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Compassion and empathy are essential for not only politicians, but for everyone.

My daughter and her family lived in TN a few years ago. Her husband was sick, out of work for 6 months. I took a nurse job there to help them out, my grandsons were both in diapers. I moved back “home” (Chicago) to care for my ailing mother, and the kids wanted to move back home too, because they wanted the boys to know their grandparents. I gifted them the deposit for a home.

Anyone with compassion would do the same.

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Everyone is very lucky to have you, S Kim! Hope you are taking care of yourself, in the interim. My best to you. 💞

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Thank you, Marlene 🫂

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Compassion is essential in life, especially in the leader of a nation. President Biden shows up at every crisis, some events he needs to put things in motion to help those in need first. When I read complaints about his timing, I know those people have zero clue about how government works.

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Compassion is definitely important in leadership. Compassion in a leader leads to trust and understanding between the leader and the people he/she leads. My son teaches Leadership in Business School (PhD in I&O Psychology). And I have proofread many of his papers - so I feel I know more about leadership than I did before. LOL A leader is an example of "what to do" - "how to act". I think we saw with our previous president (45) - what his example has created. He has created a group of followers who lie, are crooks, filled with hate, and in politics for themselves, ....who believe in, and spread conspiracy theories for greed and power

I wrote this as a Guide to the Supervisors I supervised ( I deleted a couple that pertained directly to the Organization I worked for - Intensive In-home Intervention for Families in Crisis

LINDA’S PHILOSOPHY OF SUPERVISION

1.) When it is a choice between “rules” or “people” – people come first. A good

supervisor inspires their people to do good work – to want to do a good job –

not to point out what is wrong all of the time. Power either brings out the best

in you, or the worst. Watch carefully which direction you are going.

Derrick Jensen Quote from “Walking On Water”: “Power. If I’ve got power or authority over someone, it’s my responsibility to use that only to help them. It’s my job to accept and praise them into becoming who they are. But if I see someone misusing power to harm someone else, it’s just as much my responsibility to stop them, using whatever means necessary.”

2.) You need to be someone they feel comfortable coming to with a problem –

not someone they are afraid of what you are going to say.

You are not being a good Supervisor when you tell people what is wrong with them. You are being a good supervisor when you lead them into seeing what is right with them – this encourages them to do better. Praise encourages. Hard criticism does not.

Derrick Jensen, “Walking on Water”: When people know what problem they can solve using the gifts that are unique to them in all the world, they often know what they need to do next.”

3.) Supervisors sometimes make the mistake of trying to get people to fit into a

“mold” (like trying to get squares and triangles into a round hole) There are

many valid ways of approaching a task. As Supervisor, your way is only one

way of doing a job. Your job is to encourage and inspire your workers to

discover their own unique way.

4.) A Supervisor’s role is not to rule their people but to assist and guide them.

Respect is a large component of this; treat your employees with respect at all times, as you would want to be treated. Respect the people in your care into becoming the best employees they are capable of becoming. The way to earn respect is to be respectful. We as people, are ultimately the relationships we share with others. How you treat your employees actively demonstrates who you are as a person.

5.) When making a decision, always decide in favor of what will be the most

helpful and is coming from a place that you can explain to others if need be.

In other words, know WHY you are making that decision and are able to

easily answer why you decided that way if questioned about it. Then you will

never have to be defensive about your decisions, and can easily explain your

reasons for the decisions you make.

6.) Always answer questions honestly – then you never have to try to remember

what you said, and will always be able to explain your answer and will not

have to be defensive. When answering a question, or making a statement,

ask yourself: “Is this statement that I’m about to make, is it true?”

And when you are sure that it is true, then ask if it is helpful?

7.) Always come from a place of integrity and honesty for yourself, Family

Preservation, CKCAC, DCBS , and the family. You are always

demonstrating who you are to others.

8.) The Supervisor/Director’s job toward therapists is:

a.) support their people,

b.) guide them in the right direction,

c.) stand up for them when necessary,

d.) make their jobs as easy to do as possible.

e.) co-ordinate training

f.) provide guidance

g.) make the office atmosphere a place of acceptance and comfort –

because our jobs are stressful enough without having stress and

rigidity in the office.

The office should be a “safe port in the storm” of our job.

h.) respect workers to be able to do their jobs, encourage their ability and

creativity, but also provide stability and certainty in what they need to

do. Inspire them to do their best.

i.) Provide some structure in order to create a feeling of stability, but not so

much structure that you create a feeling of rigidity where there is no

room for creativity and individualism

j.) When giving praise, explain what it is that they did well – in specific

detail. Eg. I like the way you used modeling to demonstrate Time Out.

This is an example of good feedback in a case file

A bad example would be: “You need to do this better”

k). You are a mentor and role model to the people you supervise

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This is excellent and obviously, you were a leader for your staff. There are many who are great workers but when given a management position, they are totally inept. They forget what it was like being a subordinate.

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Thank you - I really tried to be -we did crisis intervention and everyone needed support :)

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The problem with humanity in a nutshell, as interpreted by Charles Bukowski:

“We’re all going to die, all of us; what a circus! That alone should make us love one another, but it doesn’t.”

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Critical. Look what happened when we had a leader who totally lacked compassion. I don’t want to go there again.

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com "with, together" + pati "to suffer" -- literal sharing of affliction or suffering with another.

Compassion is probably the most important attribute of a leader... who needs to assess the results of her/his policies for real people... share in their suffering when called for. Thankfully President Biden has intelligent compassion in abundance. It is the lack of compassion that most marks the dumb animals/stupid humans like 45, who can't even put an intelligent statement together unless it is hateful and trying to harm someone.

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Clearly important to have. And effectively communicate. Not so easy. . . . Meanwhile, how important is compassion among voters? In the battle of greed, anger and hatred vs. compassion, empathy and mutual concern, seems like the former is winning. Could you imagine someone insulting relatives of Fox news people the way they gratuitously insult Biden. I thought human compassion was baked into the human psyche. Doesn't seem that way tho, in the middle east, in much of eastern Europe and certainly Russia, in much of the mid-west and south, and certainly, not on Fox. Their NY office is surrounded by beautiful holiday decorations. You'd think, just maybe, the Christmas spirit might waft through their otherwise hate-filled chambers. IMHO.

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My heart… Compassion is something that if not given can harm you deeply.

President Biden is an incredibly compassionate leader. He loves his family without strings attached. He knows loss as do I.

My daughter was murdered in an act of domestic violence. I found her. When she was alive we did everything together. Compassion was a part of every day life for us. We were flawed human beings yet we tried to work through our feelings.

President Biden is an incredible parent as we know his story about the loss of his wife and daughter. The injuries of both Hunter and Beau and the amazing care he gave both sons.

Thank you for this timely article Mr. Beschloss.

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Steven, thank you for this poignant newsletter today. I feel that compassion is the highest quality we can aspire to in life, along with wisdom. I love America, America because of your compassion :-)

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Smearing the president's son to spur a relapse, just to hurt his father? Would right-wing power elite do that?

Yes.

Their only goal is power for themselves, regardless of how many people are harmed. Utterly depraved.

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I fear nothing but people like you who babble on with name calling and propaganda; but while we still have it, we are free to state our opinions. I grew up in a great country through numerous wars, etc., and I want it to stay that way without the woke bologna, DEI, etc etc but then people like you don't even understand that concept. So happy holidays and live in your happy place while you are still allowed. BTW, only liberals bought us advances, oh my, it's worse than I thought!!! Civilization must have laws, not the chaos you are beginning to see of late.

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Our leaders ought to model the behavior we all strive for. Being compassionate is what we all ought to be.

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Compasssion Steven Beschloss is what draws me to every aspect of who you are as a beautiful patriot and historian and

Human being ..my thirty years in Hospice

Grief counseling is a gift from God and

Subscribing to your America Substack

Enriches my soul...heartfelt ❤️Marsha

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The phrase "public servant" says it all: to SERVE other people, not to self-aggrandize. Think of what OTHER people need, not what you want. Compassion in leaders is absolutely essential for a nation to be strong, for citizens to care for one other.

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"It was part of a package of contacts between father and son used by Republicans determined to cast doubt on the closeness of their relationship and possible business dealings." And that says it all.

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I believe a politician's compassion, honesty, integrity, and character matter hugely. They set the tone for the whole country. Our children absorb this tone. As we have witnessed over and over, Trump's coarseness, vulgarity, dishonesty and meaness have affected his followers and, really, the whole country. I really feel we cannot survive another Trump presidency. The nation's children are watching.

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I think his deep compassion is 2nd only to president Biden's intelligence. He's far more likely to calmly discuss any problems with other leaders. Trump, with his hugely bloated ego, would whip out the nuclear football before he'd ever agree to listen to any constructive criticism of himself.

I trust Joe Biden to do all he can to keep America safe and free. He'll definitely be getting my vote again in 2024. At the same time, I'll be hoping to see Trump end up in a cold, dark prison cell.

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Biden's compassion does not extend to killed, maimed & starving Palestinians.

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If I could, I want to lift a tiny piece of the heavy burden on President Biden’s shoulders. He is a truly remarkable human being and I am grateful to support him.

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Compassion is critical in all humans, not all humans are capable, and certainly not the politicians we have now- in voting for a representative, city council, senator, president, whoever it may be, consider the person's ability for compassion and empathy along with his/her political views. That goes a long way

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