Last week we watched multiple women speak out in regard to their discomfort with former VP Joe Biden’s touching. Eight women in total, I believe, spoke up — nine, if you count his wife, Jill, who in excerpts released from her upcoming memoir shares that when marrying into the family, she sometimes found all the affection “strange,” “uncomfortable,” and “draining.”
Note that Biden has not been accused of any assault or harassment. He has been accused of touching people in an “awkward,” “creepy,” “demeaning,” “disrespectful,” “embarrassing,” “inappropriate,” “strange,” “unnerving,” and “weird” ways and making them feel “angry,” “resentful,” and “uncomfortable.”
And so, since the Intramuralist typically finds it wiser to utilize question marks instead of exclamation points, allow me to pose a few challenging but respectful and reflective queries that wrestle with more than Biden’s behavior…
How much does our own, individual experience affect what we believe from an accuser?
When we say “we believe” an accuser, what’s that based upon? Does it matter if it’s based on evidence or emotion?
How much does likemindedness play into our perception of truth?
If someone’s actions make us uncomfortable, with all sincerity and respect, does that always make them wrong?
Particular to Biden, since the accusations are multiple years old, why did we not hear of this complaint when he was the sitting Vice President of the United States?
In reference to Lucy Flores — the Democrat from Nevada, who wrote the initial, uncomfortable account this week — who is she supporting for President?
What’s the motivation behind the continued publicizing of Biden’s behavior? Is anyone intentionally promoting it?
Are we turning a blind eye if we don’t believe the focus is politically motivated?
And does Biden’s touchy-feely-ness disqualify him from holding higher office?
Again, since reports suggest Biden has long been very affectionate, why was it previously not a factor?
Does this have more to do with Biden’s record — which hasn’t always toed the far left, liberal line? … recognizing, for example, that he believes life begins at conception, is personally against abortion, and supports voluntary prayer in schools?
Speaking to the bigger picture, is this an extension of the #MeToo movement? Since the #MeToo movement focuses on sexual harassment and assault, especially in the workplace, does this still fit?
With all due respect, is it possible for a movement to ever go too far? … even unintentionally?
Is there any double-standard in the way we handle the extent of accusations, depending who they are against?
Do we agree with both parts of actress/activist Alyssa Milano’s recent statement that “just as we must believe women that decide to come forward, we cannot assume all women’s experiences are the same”? Has she/we been consistent in those assumptions?
Does gender dictate truth?
And, as former ESPN VP Roxanne Jones wrote in a CNN op-ed this week: “Attitudes of race, gender and power have shifted since the Obama White House — we are more suspicious and less forgiving when it comes to accepting excuses and soft apologies for past racial biases and sexual misconduct…” Question: is that good?
Allow me a few final thoughts… I have a lot of respect for Joe Biden. That’s not saying I’d vote for or against him nor that I always agree or disagree. But my sense is he appeals more to the moderate middle than to the partisan fringe. No doubt, the fringe in both parties desire to divide us more, which means they possess significant motive to ensure Joe doesn’t succeed, as each party seems challenged to maneuver through their individual “Tea Party moments.”
More so, though, I find myself wondering if we are erring as a culture by intentionally, increasingly pitting men and women against one another. Friends, neither gender is better; each is uniquely and wonderfully made! Can we not celebrate that?
Let’s be sure to deal with truth. Let’s be sure victims are heard, honored, and respected. But let’s also remember that there are good men and women on all sides of these issues and incidents. I tend to think Joe is one of them.