[Bruce Thornton | FrontPage Mag] One of the more interesting fronts in the Democrat internecine struggle between the rich, old People of Pallor and the “woke,” young People of Color centers on Joe Biden and his penchant for inappropriately touching women. Biden’s bad habit of invading the personal space of women and girls in sexually suggestive ways has long been known and dismissed as a personal quirk of his regular-guy persona.
But with Biden making noises about entering the 2020 presidential race, many Dems on the left are suddenly having epiphanies about Uncle Joe’s sexist sins. With a dozen candidates vying for the nomination, Biden’s long-forgiven antics are now coming back as “woke” political karma.
Once more, for Democrats, claims of alleged identity-politics principle come down to questions of whose political ox is being gored.
Take Lucy Flores, a former Nevada assemblywoman, who claims that five years ago at a political event Biden stood close behind her and kissed her hair, leaving her feeling “uneasy, gross, and confused. She made no bones about her political motivations, telling CNN, “The reason why we’re having these conversations about Vice President Joe Biden is because he’s considering running for president.” Flores supported Bernie Sanders in 2016, and has attended a campaign rally for “Beto” O’Rourke, the Irish gringo with a culturally appropriated nickname.
Now we have another woman piling on. Amy Lappos says that during a 2009 fund-raiser, Biden grabbed her: “It wasn’t sexual, but he did grab me by the head. He put his hand around my neck and pulled me in to rub noses with me. When he was pulling me in, I thought he was going to kiss me on the mouth.” Lappos made her political motives clear as well: “If Biden truly supports women and gender equality he would step aside and support one of the many talented and qualified women running. The same goes for the other men who have thrown their hat in the ring. . . After 45 male presidents it is time we elect a woman.” Don’t be surprised if this is the start of a conga-line of accusations chipping away at Biden’s current lead in the polls. Lucy Flores could be just the beginning of a feminist deconstruction of Biden if he announces he’s running.
The old guard, however, still has friends. The Washington Post, protecting an apparatchik of the status quo, ran a preposterous defense of Uncle Joe that doesn’t even pass the laugh test: “This affectionate and sometimes intimate physical style is one of the former vice president’s trademarks, a defining feature of the warm and upbeat persona he has built during more than four decades in the national spotlight.” As for the copious footage of Biden’s handling females, “they were often framed in past news accounts as harmless and sometimes entertaining.” Even a couple of former objects of his “intimate physical style” and “upbeat personality” are now defending Biden, claiming the stills from video footage misrepresent what he’s doing. Just Biden being Biden, as the exculpatory cliché goes.
Let’s see that explanation getting past the woke commissars, or even anybody with common sense. Apart from Handmaid cultists, most grown-ups understand that physical affection between the sexes isn’t always a prelude to rape or an announcement of patriarchal hegemony. With a friend or even acquaintance who is familiar, a pat on the shoulder or a chaste hug is not a problem. Human beings communicate through touch, and such gestures can signal encouragement or sympathy or just the simple pleasure of being friends.
What Biden has done, however, is nothing like that. For one thing, such innocent gestures usually are suitable for either sex––a good rule for those uncertain whether a gesture is appropriate. The objects of Biden’s physical “affection,” however, are all women and, making it even more creepy, young girls. Then there’s the ambush factor: he usually walks up behind a woman and puts his hands on her shoulders, something a man usually does not do to another man without squeezing the hell out of the guy, or following up with a playful shake or a punch.
Next comes the sniffing or kissing the hair. Hair is a secondary sex characteristic, which is why male-dominated cultures and religions require women to cover their heads. Until the end of the 20th century, respectable women in the West wore their hair bound up, again to minimize its sexually suggestive meaning. This custom led to expressions like “let your hair down,” which suggests shedding inhibitions and enjoying some transgressive behavior. How many old movies have we seen where the woman’s unbinding of her hair is a signal for sexual availability? Sorry Joe, whatever you thought you were doing, kissing the hair of a woman you barely know is not innocent “physical affection.”
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[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Bruce Thornton and originally published at FrontPage Mag. Title changed by P&P.]
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