“Careless: Taking insufficient care; negligent. Marked by or resulting from lack of forethought or thoroughness. Showing a lack of consideration” ― The American Heritage Dictionary
The recent discovery that President Joe Biden stored classified documents in several unauthorized locations, including the garage of his private residence, should not surprise anyone. Biden has been a public figure for almost 50 years, and in that time, he has come to embody the definition of a careless man — both in his words and deeds.
Some people may think I should use the word “dishonest” to describe Biden. While he has told countless lies to Americans, his behavior suggests that another character trait is at work. For much of his adult life, there has been a sense of haste and clumsiness in both his spoken and written words. He has been caught plagiarizing published articles and political speeches on many occasions and has done so in a manner that suggests he has never thought his plagiarism could be easily discovered by others.
This lack of foresight about his dishonesty forced Biden to withdraw from the 1988 presidential race after numerous reports of his plagiarism while in law school and on the campaign trail made it impossible for him to continue. Upon leaving, he issued a statement that left no doubt about his carelessness in making important decisions: “My intent was not to deceive anyone. … For if it were, I would not have been so blatant.” I can only imagine how his supporters must have felt after hearing this bizarre declaration.
Fast forward to 2023, and we see the same carelessness and lack of foresight previously on display. The difference now is that Biden is the president of the United States, not a senator vying for the position. Biden’s policies have a profound effect not only on this country but also on the world, and the idea that he makes decisions of such significance in a hurried or indifferent manner is frightening to contemplate.
Perhaps the best example of the haste with which Biden makes important decisions occurred in 2019 when he was a presidential candidate. He had been a staunch supporter of the Hyde Amendment, which banned the use of federal funds to pay for abortions. In just a couple of days, he reversed a position he had held for almost 40 years for religious reasons because of pressure from other candidates and groups opposed to the amendment. How much deliberation could he, or anyone, have given to this issue in such a short time?
How much thought did Biden give to shutting down the XL Pipeline just hours after his inauguration? How much thought did he give to opening the southern border and letting millions of unvetted migrants into the country? How much thought did he give to our disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan or to the consequences of that withdrawal for the Afghan people or our standing on the global stage? How much thought has he given to the economic hardships his policies have created for the American people?
How much thought has he ever given to any decision?
Why should we now be surprised to discover that Biden has had classified documents, some of them top secret, in various unauthorized locations for several years? Why would the same man who decided to leave military equipment worth billions of dollars for the Taliban to use suddenly think that storing classified papers in his garage was a bad idea? Both incidents signify a disturbing lack of forethought by Biden. Does he ever stop to consider the long-term consequences of his decisions?
It is frightening to think that Biden, the leader of the free world, probably devotes more time to selecting a flavor of ice cream than he does to matters of national security. But in all fairness to him, he did have the foresight to make sure the door of the garage where some of these documents were stored was always locked. We have his word on it.
Mary Zahran is a writer who lives in Fayetteville.