Schadenfreude (SHOD-n-froy-duh) is a German expression that is said to not have a direct translation. However, an adequate definition would be “the satisfaction obtained from the misfortunes of others.” Certainly not a charitable attitude. But I suspect an all too common one nonetheless. Even reading certain parts of scripture have lead me to comfortably bask in the emotion of schadenfreude. How can anyone help but be satisfied when the tables are turned on Haman in the book of Esther. And how can we not cheer the Lord Jesus when we see Satan “getting his” according to the prophesies told in the book of Revelation?
Since misfortune can visit any of us, I think it is probably good policy to minimize the extent to which we allow ourselves to reside with this emotion. But there is something about the current political environment that brings it out for me. And when misfortune befalls the Clinton political machine, I find the emotion all the more difficult, if not impossible, to resist.
Today, January 28th, the Kennedy clan announced its endorsement and public support for Barack Obama and his presidential bid. The Kennedy’s must surely have not come to that decision quickly or easily, as they are effectively betraying the former president by rejecting his wife. Oprah Winfrey who probably considered herself an “FOB” (friend of Bill) back in the 90’s, voiced her support for Barack early on in the race. She has done so at the risk of at least appearing to have made her selection based on racial rather than gender considerations. And last week, during the days leading up to the South Carolina primary, Bill Clinton offended many African Americans by comments about Barack and actions that could hardly be described as anything but pandering. Even some of the democrat talking heads on TV news programs have expressed their dissatisfaction with Bill and concede that his bad behavior is taking its toll on Hillary’s campaign. And Barack went on to clean Hillary’s clock in South Carolina.
But two weeks ago during the Martin Luther King Jr. observances, the most delicious morsel of schadenfreude occurred. Bill Clinton (our country’s first black president) found himself nodding off during some sort of commemorating address. How well I understand the difficulty in staying awake in certain situation. But there is something incredibly “schadenfreude” about watching his misfortune in this particular setting. As the video notes, just like MLK, Bill Clinton “has a dream.”