Joe Biden in a Changing World: Should We Forgive And Forget?

I’ll be the first one to say that I love Joe Biden. The memes about him are gold and he seems funny, nice, and smart. Lately, women have been coming out and talking about how his overly “touchy” attitude has made them uncomfortable. These accusations are hard for me to see because I know that they are hurting Biden's chances of declaring a candidacy.

I think, however, that the women who have made these accusations took a huge risk and I cannot emphasize enough how much I applaud their bravery. The thing that disappoints me the most about this is Biden's response to the situation. Biden claims that he never realized that he was making people uncomfortable around him but it seems to me that it signals a general lack of awareness on Biden's part of how his actions are perceived. I don't think that this disqualifies him from the presidency, but I do hope to see him apologizing for his actions.

Some people have talked about this in terms of power and said his actions were irresponsible because he was the Vice President and in a position where people felt uncomfortable saying no. Others have argued that Biden’s actions have to do with gender and internalized sexism. In my opinion, this is about gender and also about power. Biden’s actions would no doubt be seen differently if he was giving men long kisses on the back of their heads. His selective touchiness with women shows that he comes from an era in which treating women with affection and invading their personal space without their consent was acceptable. His position in power exacerbates the situation because people brushed it off as “just his personality” instead of calling him out. Power dictates interactions in so many ways, and the uncomfortable reality is that calling out the Vice President for making you uncomfortable is not something that a lot of people would feel confident doing. It takes a huge risk to call someone out, especially someone above you in the power structure. Calling people out requires security and privilege, it requires the support of those around you, and it requires confidence that the person above you won’t respond vindictively. Just because Biden may have held these views at one time does not mean that he should still behave this way. The fact of the matter is that as much as we all want to love nice uncle Joe, he needs to step up, apologize, and change his ways. Otherwise he does not deserve our support or even consideration.

(Source: 1)