NOW WHAT DO WE DO?
This won’t make me popular with a segment of my readers, so I’m just going to rip this bandage right off.
Vice President Biden probably sexually assaulted Tara Reade.
Yes, she could be making a false accusation.
But she’s probably not.
Look, we know this from the research. Most conservatively, believing the woman is the right choice over 90% of the time.
We also know this because we were making this exact argument against Brett Kavanaugh not even a year ago. And we were right to do so.
Last year, with regard to the accusations against Brett Kavanaugh, I stated that though there may not be enough evidence to convict in a court of law, there is certainly enough evidence to exclude him from having a job on the Supreme Court.
If I’m going to be consistent, I must apply this same standard to the Vice President. He is, in essence, applying for a job. He has been credibly accused of sexual assault. That’s it.
Of course, it’s much more convenient to apply the standard embraced by Kavanaugh’s supporters. Any inconsistency in the accuser’s story is evidence of innocence on the part of the accused. This standard flies in the face of everything we know about the dynamics of sexual victimization.
Furthermore, if we apply this standard in support of Biden, then what we are doing is communicating that our support for the #metoo movement is contingent upon political expediency. We confirm the right-wing accusation that “the left” is a bunch of hypocrites.
So the question is, do we believe in the principles and mission of the #metoo movement, or not? Do we accept that believing the woman is the best policy, or not? There’s nothing situational about it.
As it stands, unless there’s a significant upset during the Democratic Convention, the 2020 election looks like a contest between two people who have been credibly accused of sexual assault…one of whom faces multiple accusations.
This is where it gets tricky.
We know that the opposition doesn’t care about sexual assault against women. Not in the face of gaining political power. But we do. And we should.
On the other hand, does standing on principle and rejecting Biden mean creating an even worse situation for women as the GOP then has four more years to impose its anti-woman vision. What do women lose during that time as the laws are rewritten and the court is stacked against reproductive rights, fair pay and workplace rules, and family support?
On the other hand, what does a vote for Biden say to the millions of women debating whether or not to come forward with their own stories? What does it say to men in positions of power who know that they can sexually abuse women and still advance in their careers.
I’m afraid I have no answers to these questions. Women will be damaged during this election and there’s nothing we can do about it except damage control.
This is life during the fall of American Culture.