Political Animal

Joe Biden needs to drop out of the presidential race

Photo: Google Advanced Image — Flickr

The DNC must present us with a presidential candidate whose ideas are sound and whose character is unsullied. Anything less, and we vote for an America where a whole generation of up and coming young boys will see sexual harrassment and assault as a grey area.

The Democratic field of candidates for the presidency waved as a harvest for a nation deprived of leadership. This year’s candidate would be a democratic socialist or a woman , or both.

Hope shriveled as all of my heroes were forced out, and only a weed remained — a thorny stalk pushed up through the asphalt.

Joe Biden, I should have known. Of course the DNC is going to prop up its political animal. I was sore from the punch to my aging lips, disappointed when I realized I’d be voting for an establishment man in November and one whose on-camera personality and debate style I didn’t like.

I perked up when Biden pledged to serve only one term. I grew hopeful when he pledged to choose a woman as his VP. I saw a future, and I felt confident that my candidate was making forward-thinking decisions.

Now, it’s all gone.

It’s funny how the media can bury a story.

I mean dystopian. It’s dystopian how the media can bury a story.

How dare you talk about all the things you’ve done for women, when I know who you are. I see you, and I experienced you. — Tara Reade, March 25, 2020

I heard the name Tara Reade for the first time a week ago. In the following days I was reading everything I could get my hands on. I found the tumor in Ryan Grim’s article which appeared in the Intercept on March 24th. The results came back malignant when I heard Tara’s testimony on the Katie Halper podcast.

After weeks of silence, Biden “answered” to the accusation on the May 1st edition of Morning Joe.

As a self-proclaimed warrior in the fight to protect women from sexual violence, Biden should know that … fear is the reason women don’t come forward.

MSNBC’s flagship morning show and Mika Brzezinski would normally be a safe space for Mr. Biden. He may have been surprised when Ms. Brzezinski described the attack on Tara Reade without mincing words and then served it over the net. I cringed watching him answer.

“No, it is not true. I’m saying unequivocally it never, never happened. And it didn’t. It never happened.”

Never, never? Really? Oh, wait, there was a third ‘never’.

Why don’t we flip the question? It’s not about us, what we wear … what our politics are … the question is: Why is he doing that? What is the pattern (of behavior)? — Tara Reade, March 25, 2020

I take some issue with Brzezinski’s line of questioning. She asked Biden so many times about his towering pile of uncollated Senate records at the University of Delaware that his rehearsed answers got better with practice right there on live television.

Her time could have been better spent questioning Biden’s remark at around 08:45 when he questioned with a somewhat exasperated air why Ms. Reade would suddenly level her accusations after twenty-seven years of silence.

As a self-proclaimed warrior in the fight to protect women from sexual violence, Biden should know that answer handily: fear. Fear is the reason women don’t come forward, and Ms. Reade’s fears have been realized. People have smeared her on every platform, accusing her of being a Russian bot. She receives death threats from people who have discovered her home address.

In her voice you can hear the hope of a young staffer get stomped into the ground as the culture of Joe Biden’s senate office began to show its true colors. Biden was touchy-feely — she was encouraged to let it pass.

The evidence has a foot on either side on the canyon. Women who have stepped forward to accuse Biden of harrassment say they don’t recall any story as violent as that from Reade, but they are on record that they believe her. Whatever these women experienced, they were around Biden and within his circles, and they believe that the Senator from Delaware and the former Vice-President of the United States is capable of digital rape.

Reade’s brother said he remembers Tara telling him of the attack within the timeframe of it happening. This seemed damning until reports made it clear that he told the Washington Post of the inappropriate touching and harrassment, and then reached out to them days later to clarify that she had told him of the assault.

Then there is the Larry King clip from 1993 of a phone call from a woman in San Luis Obispo, whom Tara has easily identified as the voice of her mother, asking a guest what could be done to report an incident with a prominent senator on Capitol Hill.

All of this noise gets tangled. I have waffled as anyone would. Then, I listened to Tara tell her story for an hour with Katie Halper. In her voice you can hear the hope of a young staffer get stomped into the ground as the culture of Joe Biden’s senate office began to show its true colors. Biden was touchy-feely — she was encouraged to let it pass.

Watching Joe Biden dodge political opponents for years, it’s obvious when he feels uncomfortable. He flashes a white, piano-key smile. I’ve seen it dozens of times. Failing that, he faces the camera with sharp eyes and speaks in staccato, choppy sentences that end exactly where his handlers placed the periods during rehearsal.

I may not have liked Miza Brzezinski’s interviewing style, but Joe Biden’s repetitive delivery of a watery, empty series of words carried all the sentiment of a gangster on the stand.

“No, it is not true. I’m saying unequivocally it never, never happened. And it didn’t. It never happened.”

And it didn’t? Never?

I’m asking unequivocally — does it’s ‘unequivocalness’ even need to be mentioned?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say his denial is hard to believe. While he talks, it is easy to see the pile of shit floating up around his shoulders.

Tara Reade has accused him of a crime so vile, so destructive, that the only just response would be one of shock, one where I could clearly see the emotion emanating from his posture, words and eyes — perhaps a furrowed brow of concern, a camera angle that showed more than his over-made-up face and stiff tie. I would like to see his body engaged in his fight, his hands at once pleading and genuine.

My justice now, the only justice I can have, is to be moving freely in the world … and not be silenced. — Tara Reade, March 25, 2020

At the very least, Joe’s stiff body and moving lips reveal that he is guilty of inappropriate touch and harrassment. Now that charges of assault have fallen across his road to the presidency, even if he never nope not did it unequivocally, he can’t even escape looking guilty of digital rape.

I’ve never been in the Joe Biden camp. The repeated stories of his unsolicited shoulder massages notwithstanding, I hate it that I am forced to compare him to Trump in that he rarely puts together a clear sentence. I remain flabbergasted that he came out on top as the Democratic nominee.

Still, I could easily pan stories of Hunter being caught up in a web of corruption as mere propaganda. These charges came from sources who certainly had skin in a game of making the other side look bad, really bad. In any case, I am supporting the Democratic ticket for the presidency, I told myself.

And then, Katie Halper interviewed Tara Reade, and whatever I liked or didn’t like about Joe Biden faded to the background.

I believe Tara’s story. I believe Joe Biden forcibly parted her legs with his knee and shoved his fingers into her vagina in 1993.

Many stand by him. Many against. Whatever your position, Joe Biden is now a distraction and a detriment to the Democratic party. He is clearly guilty of inappropriate touch over decades, and don’t try to tell me he “didn’t mean to”. I can’t support a candidate who dodges serious accusations with such a ridiculous answer.

He needs to bow out of the race and atone for the accusations which have been levied against him. He needs to take care of his family. God knows he won’t be prosecuted of anything.

The DNC must present us with a presidential candidate whose ideas are sound and whose character is unsullied. Anything less, and we vote for an America devoid of values toward women, where a whole generation of up and coming young boys will see sexual harrassment and assault as a grey area, and young girls will form another generation of silence.

Creative nonfiction, short fiction and poetry. Thank you for reading.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store