We should all be happy Hunter Biden was convicted - but not for the reason some think | Opinion

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Hunter Biden is a convicted felon. Or, to those of us mindful about the way we speak about those who go through the criminal “justice” system, he is a man convicted of crimes by a jury in a federal court — even with his father in the White House.

Issac Bailey
Issac Bailey

Hunter was convicted of making a false statement during a firearms sale and a false statement on a firearms record, and illegal possession of a firearm. These are the kind of charges that would usually concern strict Second Amendment proponents, especially since they’re rare under such circumstances. Because Hunter Biden is on the left politically and most strict Second Amendment proponents are on the right, few of them have been running to his defense.

Hunter, who has long struggled with drug addiction, faces up to 25 years in prison, though analysts say first-time offenders are unlikely to spend any time behind bars.

Let’s be frank. This is only news because Hunter is President Joe Biden’s son. He isn’t a governor, senator or House m member. He’s not an elected official on any level. He’s not an actor, preacher, college president. He’s a public figure only because of his father’s political shadow. And still, Republicans hounded him for years, primarily to damage his father. They even argued against a plea agreement Hunter Biden had secured with prosecutors, which would have saved taxpayers the expense of a federal trial.

They didn’t care about his personal struggles or how hard it is to kick a drug addiction.

Let’s be even more frank. Hunter’s conviction highlights one of the many differences between the two men who will face off again in November to lead this country.

Federal prosecutors serving in the Biden administration secured a conviction against Biden’s son — without interference from his father. There’s little chance Donald Trump Jr. would have been prosecuted by a Trump Department of Justice. His father would not allow it, and would not care if it undermined DOJ independence.

President Biden has made clear he will not pardon his son, who is awaiting sentencing.

If by chance prosecutors found a way to successfully prosecute Donald Trump Jr. while his father was in office, President Trump would immediately pardon his son, not caring if it showed favoritism for the elite, which so many everyday Americans despise.

That’s not a small difference between the presumptive Democratic and Republican presidential nominees. It speaks volumes about them as men, as well as leaders.

For all the talk about conspiracies and the law supposedly being weaponized, that should matter — and greatly. We all should be ecstatic that a man with as many connections as Hunter Biden was forced to face a jury of his peers to be held to account for his actions instead of being protected by the system. Poor people face the system every day. The system rarely affords them the kinds of privileges men like Hunter Biden have had for their entire lives.

That speaks to a more important divide. Republicans howled because Trump was held to account in Manhattan,, even as they conceded his guilt. They conjured conspiracy theories, conflated state and federal court to muddy the discussion. They pretended only conservatives are prosecuted. They were angry.

Few Democrats and liberals are in an uproar about Hunter Biden’s conviction. They aren’t making excuses for him. They aren’t vowing to undermine the constitution and pursue revenge prosecutions next year, the way Trump and many of his supporters have about his conviction.

Famed attorney and anti-death penalty activist Bryan Stevenson has said the system often treats the rich and guilty better than the poor and innocent. Unfortunately, that’s true. But not this time, and not when former President Trump faced a Manhattan jury.

I hope this becomes a trend, then a norm — that one’s station in life won’t determine how one is treated by the legal system, no matter if one is a Republican or a Democrat. That we can’t even agree on that is the most concerning thing of them all.

Issac Bailey is a McClatchy Opinion writer in North and South Carolina.