Is the Democratic Strategy an Apology for Sexual Violence?

BELatina Tara Reade Joe Biden
September 17, 2019, Philaelphia, Pennsylvania, United States: Democratic Presidential hopeful former Vice-President Joe Biden speaks at the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO Workers Presidential Summit, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA, on September 17, 2019. (Credit Image: © Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via ZUMA Press) (Newscom TagID: zumaamericastwentyseven245713.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]

The last four years have radically changed the way we make life; even long before the coronavirus Pandemic affected our habits, the revolution of #MeToo and #NeverAgain saw how the strength of community organizing will always try to speak louder than what is experienced at the decision-making tables.

However, the fact that the accusations of sexual harassment against Joe Biden have gone under the table in the desperate insistence on defeating Donald Trump in November is still a slap in the face for social resistance movements.

Tara Reade, a former Senate aide, accused the former vice president of assaulting her in 1993. Reade told The New York Times that during the brief period she worked in the Senate office, Biden “pinned her or a wall in a Senate building, reached under her clothing and penetrated her with his fingers.”

As is customary in this type of case, it has been the prosecution, not the defense, that has been called into question, prying the veracity of Reade’s account, who claims to have discussed the incident with friends and family.

For its part, the former vice president’s campaign, as well as some of Reade’s work colleagues at the time, have denied that the incident actually happened.

While it is true that the allegations against Biden are incomparable to the audio recordings of Donald Trump’s “locker room talk” that was leaked during his presidential campaign, the phenomenon is, in the long run, the same.

Biden was accused last year of touching, kissing, or invading the physical space of a dozen women who said they were uncomfortable with the former vice president’s “affectionate” way of communicating. However, knowing that Biden would likely be the Democratic candidate for president, the media and the Trump opposition machine have turned a deaf ear to the issue.

The debate for the former “defenders” of women’s rights, therefore, is not moral but strategic, making them members of the gang of apologists for violence against women.

According to Buzzfeed News, both Biden’s presidential campaign and the Democratic Party as a whole have organized around “talking points” to maintain a fixed and consistent alibi with the former vice president’s defense, and with the firm intention of dismissing Reade’s accusations, no matter the cost.

“Biden believes that all women have the right to be heard and to have their claims thoroughly reviewed,” the talking points read, according to a copy sent to two Democratic operatives. “In this case, a thorough review by the New York Times has led to the truth: this incident did not happen.”

“Here’s the bottom line,” they read. “Vice President Joe Biden has spent over 40 years in public life: 36 years in the Senate; 7 Senate campaigns, 2 previous presidential runs, two vice presidential campaigns, and 8 years in the White House. There has never been a complaint, allegation, hint or rumor of any impropriety or inappropriate conduct like this regarding him — ever.”

It’s hard to avoid the word “hypocrisy” when you see the way Reade has been treated, especially by a party that has campaigned with “believe women,” with the victims organized behind #MeToo, and with powerful scenes during the Trump era like Christine Blassey Ford’s hearing.

This argument is not far from the one that fills the headlines of the conservative media, who seek to throw fuel on the fire of Reade’s accusation to try to make the Democrats pay for what the Republican Party has suffered in recent years.

Meanwhile, the victims remain victims, justice continues to depend on media coverage, and power remains in the hands of a patriarchy with which everyone is willing to collaborate.