(Note: This post includes two vulgar words quoted by others. I have chosen to redact them, but hope the point of the word is still communicated.)
This past Friday The CUT published an essay by Lucy Flores, a former democratic Assemblywoman in Nevada, titled, ‘An Awkward Kiss Changed How I Saw Joe Biden’. It details a hard to read encounter in 2014 with Vice President Biden. She wrote,
Just before the speeches, we were ushered to the side of the stage where we were lined up by order of introduction. As I was taking deep breaths and preparing myself to make my case to the crowd, I felt two hands on my shoulders. I froze. “Why is the vice-president of the United States touching me?”
I felt him get closer to me from behind. He leaned further in and inhaled my hair. I was mortified. I thought to myself, “I didn’t wash my hair today and the vice-president of the United States is smelling it. And also, what in the actual f***? Why is the vice-president of the United States smelling my hair?” He proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head. My brain couldn’t process what was happening. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. I was confused. There is a Spanish saying, “tragame tierra,” it means, “earth, swallow me whole.” I couldn’t move and I couldn’t say anything. I wanted nothing more than to get Biden away from me. My name was called and I was never happier to get on stage in front of an audience.
In response, Biden released the following statement:
Biden first denies any wrongdoing. Then on the back of the denial, globalizes an issue he just denied, then finishes with a pitch for his candidacy. In other words he basically tells Flores she is wrong and that he is a good guy who would make an excellent President.
I am not so sure. And before you see this as some anti-democrat rant and move on – wait! This isn’t about tribalism, but about what a majority of americans will do in the face of such inappropriate behavior from a male presidential candidate.
Trump was no different. While a presidential candidate in October of 2016, a video was widely shared of Trump being transported to film an Access Hollywood show. In the video you can hear audio of Trump talking to Billy Bush in which Trump is extremely disrespectful towards women. In one part he declares,
“I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the p****. You can do anything.”
Then there is Bill Clinton, who has a long list of complaints against him from women.
So the question is, will Lucy Flores’ admission about Biden affect his chances of becoming the Democratic nominee and possibly our next President? Based on Trump’s election, it is clearly not a big enough factor. The electorate doesn’t rank it as importantly as other factors, which is frankly very troubling.
I could not vote for Trump because of the Access Hollywood tape. But also due to his many lies, his gross narcissism and his lack of political experience. I was repulsed by his character, I couldn’t see beyond that to his policies, his vision and ideals.
I could not accept the line I heard often from Trump apologists, ‘God will use him anyway’. I felt to vote for him was to somehow agree with his moral choices. To endorse his character. I could not separate the Republican candidate from the man. Biden would be no different. If I were to vote democrat, I would have the same issue with him.
What does it say about our nation when we look past, justify or explain away gross mistreatment of women at the hands of powerful white men? Why is the character of a candidate not more important?