Earlier today, Former Vice President Joe Biden responded to allegations made by Lucy Flores and Amy Lappos that Biden engaged in inappropriate and non-consensual behavior towards them via this Twitter video:
My thoughts about Biden’s response are quite complex, so this is going to be a fairly lengthy blog post.
I believe Lucy Flores. I believe Amy Lappos. I believe that Biden’s behavior towards Flores and Lappos was extremely inappropriate when it occurred and is extremely inappropriate now. Biden suggested in his statement that his non-consensual behavior towards women was acceptable when it occurred, and that’s just plain wrong. If consent is not mutual, it’s not consent.
However, I do have a few other thoughts about Biden’s statement.
Former U.S. Senator Jean Carnahan (D-MO) shared a touching story about Biden via Twitter, and I’ll share part of it here, as it’s relevant to a point that I’m about to make:
There have been numerous instances over Biden’s decades-long political career where people have welcomed Biden’s affection towards them, including Carnahan in the instance she described. However, being affectionate towards someone who doesn’t consent to affectionate behavior towards them isn’t affection. Instances where one has accused someone of committing sexual misconduct, which is misbehavior, should not be used to try to pass off instances where one has welcomed affection from the same person, which is not misbehavior, as misbehavior. Likewise, instances where one has welcomed affectionate behavior towards them from an individual should not be used to discredit allegations of sexual misconduct against said individual or discredit those alleging sexual misconduct.
Another point that I’d like to make is that Biden has promised to be more mindful about respecting others’ personal space in the future. I believe that Biden should be held accountable to his promise, and that it is very important that people should learn from their mistakes. This is no different than my belief that U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, should learn from his mistake of him turning a blind eye to perverts within the ranks of his failed 2016 presidential bid (Bernie has promised that strict protocols will be in place for his 2020 presidential run in regards to sexual misconduct committed by anyone employed by his campaign). I will note that, while I am still undecided on who to support for the Democratic presidential nomination at this time, I would not back either Biden or Bernie unless either one of them wins the Democratic nomination or one or both of them are the only viable candidate(s) for the nomination.
In his statement, Biden said that “..social norms have begun to change…”. This tells me that Biden has taken the wrong interpretation of the rise of the #MeToo movement in response to serial sexual predator Donald Trump being elected to the presidency. The social norm that one must not enter another’s personal space without their consent is a long-standing social norm. What has changed is that there is now a formal political movement to make effective political change to hold those who commit acts of sexual misconduct accountable.