Biden will be Biden?

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Biden will be Biden?

Kimberly Wilson, Opinion Editor

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Seven women have accused Joe Biden of unwanted physical contact in the past few weeks. The former vice president has since issued statements responding to the allegations, saying he does not believe he has ever acted inappropriately. He stated he intends to “be more mindful about respecting personal space in the future” as “social norms are changing.” But what Biden did was just as wrong then as it is now, and moving forward, we need leaders who can acknowledge and take responsibility for their wrongdoing.

Lucy Flores, the first person to accuse Biden of inappropriate conduct, detailed her experience in an op-ed. Flores stated that during a 2014 campaign event, Biden approached her from behind, placed his hands on her shoulders, smelled her hair and kissed the back of her head. Many have since defended Biden, stating that people were overreacting and that he just has a “friendly” personality.

We need to realize it’s not Biden’s or anyone else’s place to decide whether or not they made someone uncomfortable. This kind of thinking absolves the accused of all responsibility for their actions while simultaneously encouraging victim blaming.

There’s a difference between being supportive and having no respect for personal boundaries, a difference we should all be mindful and respectful of while communicating with others. From the Women’s Liberation Movement to the Me Too movement, women all over the United States and the world have made it known this type of behavior is no longer acceptable.

We need people in power who are going to uphold these principles if they are to eventually be seen as the norm. Seeing someone as influential as Biden be disrespectful towards women will perpetuate a toxic narrative.

Our current president has already been accused of sexual misconduct on several occasions and has faced little meaningful repercussions. Electing someone facing similar allegations will make it more difficult for women to speak out when they are harassed or abused.  

Biden’s insistence that he never intended to cause any harm is completely besides the point. The fact is he did – on what has been said to be numerous occasions – and he should be held accountable. His responses are problematic because in them he makes it clear he does not believe he did anything wrong.  

Especially considering our current political climate, we need leadership that is aware of what the right thing is and can set a good example. We cannot deny the influence the actions of our society’s leaders have on our beliefs and ideals.  

Taking on a position of power should mean you have a responsibility to uphold a certain standard. Furthermore, if Biden cannot admit what he did in this situation was wrong, how should we expect him to own up to any wrongdoing as a potential future president?

Not only will making excuses for Biden’s behavior make it easier for men to engage in misogynistic practices, but it will also encourage an environment in which powerful people can get away with all their wrongdoing.

We have already seen the negative consequences that mentality can bring and we should be working towards putting a stop to it.  We are moving towards a more equal society for both genders. We can’t afford to elect a president who does not see the importance of that progress.


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