My proudest moment as a father happened on a hot stretch of West Texas road, headed toward Dallas.
I took my (then) 9-yr-old son with me for a couple of gigs in Lubbock and Muleshoe (yes, that’s a real place).
After the gigs, we headed to Dallas to visit friends and attend our first Rangers game.
Along that long, straight roll, the 9-yr-old got bored and decided to write a book.
He crawled in the back seat, opened his little lap top and started writing a story about a band of mischievous monkeys breaking out of the zoo.
As he was going through the possibilities of what monkeys might do in that scenario, he had them turning over the Dip’n’Dots machine.
As a “content creator” (I hate that title), and someone who has made a living on intellectual property for over 30 years, the first purely instinctual thought that went through my mind was, “He can’t use that name because of copyright issues.”
I didn’t say anything. I just kept driving and listening. But my son went silent for about 10 minutes.
Finally, he asked, “Dad, am I going to get into copyright trouble with the Dip’n’Dots thing?”
As tears welled up in my eyes, I yelled back to him excitedly, “Yes, buddy! Yes, you are!”
I felt a weird sense of pride that my baby boy, at 9-years-old, was already savvy enough to recognize and respect copyrighted material.
He was savvy to this because he understood what we as a family sell.
See, everybody’s selling something, whether they know it or not.
The sooner you understand what it is you’re actually selling, the sooner your path will become clear.
If you’re a builder you’re selling shelter and safety.
If you’re an entertainer, you’re selling talent and spectacle.
If you’re a professional athlete you’re selling skill and a competitive edge.
Some people are selling a strong back. Some are selling a pretty face.
Some people are selling expertise. Some are selling access to their contacts list.
Some are selling youth and energy. Others are selling age and wisdom.
Even if you’re an hourly employee and think you’re not really selling anything, you’re selling something – your time.
What do we sell at our house? Music? Yes. Inspiration and insight? Hopefully.
But ultimately, we sell intellectual property: rights to the things that come out of my brain.
That’s our family business. And my son already knew it by the time he was 9.
We don’t need to have Hunter Biden’s laptop or any of his emails authenticated (even though as i type this, it appears that the FBI has, indeed authenticated it) to know what he and his father were probably up to.
The facts NOT in dispute tell us all we need to know.
See, it’s all about what is being sold.
Hunter admitted in an interview (that I watched with my own eyes) that he had no expertise in the field of oil and gas exploration in the Ukraine. Yet he was on the board of directors for the largest oil and gas company there.
What was he selling?
It wasn’t expertise.
But they were certainly buying something from him. What was it, exactly?
Then, he went onto say that he’d probably gotten a lot of opportunities in his life because of his last name.
Are the Bidens a family of wine makers?
Do they own car dealerships?
Is there a Biden Real Estate empire?
Do they trade in financial futures?
Maybe they’re expert cabinet makers or artisans.
Joe Biden went into politics when his son Hunter was 3-years-old. He’s still there. Hunter is 50.
I’d wager that by the time Hunter was 9, much like my son, he already knew what the family sold: power and access to power.
Selling access to people is a perfectly acceptable thing to sell.
But it gets complicated when it’s in the realm of politics and when the money attached to all that power and influence, is tax money. Because now you’re dealing in coercion.
This is why term limits are so important.
Anything you do long enough starts feeling like yours.
And people who have made an entire life out of politics start feeling ownership in their warm spot.
It’s how we start referring to an empty seat on the Supreme Court as “Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s seat.”
Guess what? It’s OUR seat. She just sat in it for a while.
Is there really any question as to why the Clinton Foundation was bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars right up until Hilary lost the election – then it was closed down, after?
Again, what was being sold?
I get it. It’s a non-profit that does great things around the world.
But here’s the thing …
If you’ve been in politics since your early 20s, setting policies that directly affect people’s lives and livelihoods, even if you don’t have bad intentions, your very position in the world creates power imbalances among those who might contribute to your cause.
When the access to power dried up, the foundation dried up.
They’re not selling that access anymore. They’re selling books and appearances that explain what happened to the power.
Everybody’s selling something.
My heart actually goes out to Hunter Biden. He seems like a troubled dude. And I would bet he might not even fully comprehend what’s “wrong” with trading on his last name.
It’s just the family business, after all.
I would encourage the Trump family to leave Washington DC for a while, whenever Donald Trump stops being president.
Go back to building skyscrapers and golf resorts.
Because when you’re handling the money from those things, it’s money that has been voluntarily forked over by willing, paying customers.
That’s a clean transaction.
I would actually say the same to the Bushes or the Kennedys.
When the people’s business becomes the family business, it’s time to do something else.
Because throwing tax money around, is dealing in money that has been forcibly extracted from 40-hour-work-weeks and small businesses trying to stay afloat while staying in “compliance.”
It’s sacred money. And the power wielded, is given by the consent of the governed.
And that should never be for sale.
Regardless of whether all the laptop stuff came out or not, and regardless of whether the emails from it turn out to be authentic, one thing’s for certain: the press – and I’ll wager the moderator tonight – will never ask the ONE pertinent question regarding the young Biden, who admitted on TV that he and I have the same experience in some of his windfall jobs: what exactly was he selling? What were his partners getting for their money?
If you want that last name on your board, what does that last name get you?
Prestige? Legitimacy? Contacts? Access?
This is the only question that matters.
Because even my 9-year-old son knew it years ago, on a West Texas highway …
We’re all selling something.
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