Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Joe Biden: Clueless, Creepy or just Cordial??

Woman speaking to Biden: You snapped my bra strap!
Biden: I'm sorry I don't remember doing that.
2nd woman talking to Biden: You rubbed my neck and gave me a back massage!
Biden: You really need to be more specific young lady. I give a lot of back massages.
3rd woman speaking to Biden: You grabbed my _____ and called me "Sugar-***"
Biden: Oh yes! Sugar-***!! How the hell are you sweetheart! I missed you!

Former President Joe Biden has not announced that he will be running for President in 2020. But he's pretty clearly thinking about it. I've read some previous speculation that he remains a little miffed at being shouldered out of the way by Clinton in 2016. Usually it's the VP of a successful administration that gets the official nod to be the party standard bearer in the next election, not the Secretary of State. Oh well so it goes. I don't believe in too many conspiracy theories. And there's no evidence of anyone directing any attacks against Biden. But it is "interesting" that Biden, who has by all accounts been a pretty handsy guy with both men and women for all of his political career, has recently been accused by a number of women of behavior that either made them uncomfortable or was downright inappropriate.

Two more women have claimed that Joe Biden inappropriately touched them, in a further blow to the former US Vice President said to be considering a bid for the White House.  Caitlyn Caruso, 22, told the New York Times on Tuesday that Mr Biden hugged her "just a little bit too long" when she was 19 at a University of Nevada event on sexual harassment.

According to the former student, the senior Democrat rested his hand on her thigh moments after Miss Caruso had shared a personal story of sexual assault.She said: “It doesn’t even really cross your mind that such a person would dare perpetuate harm like that".

A second women, 59-year-old DJ Hill, also told the New York Times that Mr Biden had placed his hands on her shoulders and dropped them down her back at a 2012 campaign event in Minneapolis. The new claims follow that of Amy Lappos, who said Mr Biden had rubbed noses with her, and Lucy Flores, who claimed Biden had kissed her on the back.

Everyone is indeed different which is why these things are a little difficult to adjudicate. I really don't like people touching me unless they are family, extremely close friends, or intimates. So by definition that leaves out people at work. Now I know that I'm an (highly introverted) outlier. But the practice of politics is different. You have to shake hands and press flesh. And Biden comes from a different culture and family than I do. For him touching people, even women, may not be so much a sexual indicator, as it is an indication of friendship and acknowledgment. When I see my nephew for example I might (playfully pretend to) punch him in the head or kick him in the back of the knee. With him at certain times that is acceptable behavior. That is not something I would do to a co-worker at any time. That however, is something that Biden might do to friends or work colleagues.

Because I'm very aware of just how quickly everything I've worked for can be lost via a simple misunderstanding or actual malevolence, I'm very "arms distance" with everyone in a professional or workplace setting. That works for me. I don't need, want, or seek hugs from people at work. 

It is important to remember however, that the woman in the most iconic Creepy Joe photo, Stephanie Carter, said that although Joe Biden touching her was unsolicited, it was most definitely welcome. It's almost as if, contrary to the statements of the twitter mob, millions of different women have millions of different opinions about what is creepy and what is not. There are some people who don't really care about the particulars of Biden's "guilt". They just want someone other than a heterosexual white man to be the 2020 Democratic nominee. We'll see how that works out. It is still very early. It's also interesting that there seems to be some recognition among women--at least judging by my female relatives and friends on Facebook-- that this weaponized #metoo stuff may have reached its limits.
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