Stop telling me Biden’s not so bad.

A little over twenty years ago, I got hired to do some grunt work renovating an old Kmart. This job was nobody’s dream, but I was pretty desperate. I was pregnant and trying hard to move out of town, and I needed to make as much money as I could before I got really unwieldy; and I needed to get hired somewhere before I started to show. 

The job was awful. Just awful. Nine hours under fluorescent lights on my feet in a windowless cavern, and I had two chief duties: shoving metal shelves over tile, inch after screeching inch, and scrubbing gummy residue off walls where the signs used to be. The smell of the solvent made me sick and dizzy, and I worried constantly that the fumes, and strain of pushing those metal shelves, would kill my baby. 

And there was something else. On the day I was hired, the manager’s computer kept freezing up, and he struggled to enter my information in his files. “I’ll have to enter her manually,” he said. My supervisor laughed and said, “I’d like to enter her manually.”

I was sitting right there, three feet away. Ten of my co-workers were sitting right there. All the men laughed. And then we went to work for the day. It did not occur to me to ask any of those men for lighter work, to accommodate me and my unborn child. I was 22 years old. It did not occur to me. 

This memory came back to me today, for the first time in years. The question of Biden’s fitness for the presidency came up, and a vocally anti-Trump man told me that, if it comes down to it, I should “choose wisely” and support Biden. He admonished me to remember those who do not share my privilege. Biden, you see, may feel free to put his hands on women, to smell their necks and hair, to come up behind them like a snake, to use his power and wealth and fame and security as a free pass to the body of any women or girl who whets his appetite.

But he’s nowhere near as bad as Trump. And so women like me need to remember our duty and once again roll over for the man who thinks we’re here for his entertainment. Because we are desperate. 

The truth is, I am privileged. When I got out of work at Kmart, I would scour the want ads, and pretty soon I found something better: a job making sandwiches at Subway. It was a pay cut, but I leaped at the chance, because I had to get out of that place where I never felt safe. There was another pregnant young woman working on the renovation, and I doubt she even realized she had another choice. She had no one on her side. The father of her child was long gone. Her face was blank and bewildered as she worked, and she didn’t even flinch when the men talked about her and her belly. 

When I gave my notice at Kmart and mentioned my fears about the fumes, someone said, “Oh, she just doesn’t want to work.” That was not true. I did want to work. But at my new job, my boss was a woman who expected us to do our jobs . . . and that was all. And it felt like pure, intoxicating freedom to be able to simply put on my apron, wash my hands, and begin my routine without that constant prickle of terror and shame that comes with being vulnerable for nine straight hours every day. 

How many anti-Trumpers spent a delicious season thrashing around in the warm, shallow waters of the #metoo movement, preening themselves on their righteous indignation in defense of the vulnerable? But when it comes down to it, if Biden raises enough money and grins his way into enough votes, they’ll give him the nomination and they’ll tell women it’s their duty to be quiet, it’s their duty to be docile, it’s their duty to be forgiving, it’s their duty to take one for the team. 

I talked about shame. That’s part of the power of the sexual predator: He knows his victim will feel shame, and that will make her less able to fight. Less willing to fight. More likely to tell herself, “It’s not so bad. I can put up with this. Why am I making a fuss? It could be so much worse . . . ”

Biden is just an old school perv who refuses to take responsibility for his perviness. Is he as bad as Trump? Of course not — not by magnitudes of awfulness. But the real question is, are democrats as bad as republicans?

I long ago abandoned the idea that the political party of family values actually cares for either family or values. The republicans have made it clear, over (Trump) and over (Roy Moore) and over (Kavanaugh) again, that women and their suffering and their alarm and their shame do not matter. What matters is power; and women are expected not only not to fuss, but to take part in their own degradation for the good of the party. 

But what about the DNC? Are they any different? Here we are, still months away from the nomination, and democrats are already clearing their throats to make exactly the same point as the GOP made: It’s power that matters, not the vulnerable. Biden isn’t so bad. You can put up with this. Why are you making a fuss? It could be so much worse . . .

Now stay still while we enter you manually. 

Pay close attention, women: The democratic party is not your friend. They do not care about your dignity as a person. They care about power, and if the fates invest an old school perv with that power, then that’s who they will nominate. Brace yourself, because another election bus is bearing down on us, and your friends in the DNC will throw you under. 

Image by Ancho. via Flickr (public domain)

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37 thoughts on “Stop telling me Biden’s not so bad.”

  1. Wow, you wander if any of these work colleagues at Kmart ever had a mother, sisters or aunts? What pigs. Raise your sons well ladies- the world needs good men. And men treat your wives and daughters with dignity; your daughter will always gravitate to the good sort if you do.

    Who knows if Biden has any sexual intentions behind his “handy” ways. But the fact that he does it only to women in public view is enough to tell you what he thinks of women. He’s a dirty old man.

  2. I’m not a big fan of Biden, but no one seems to be claiming he had or has sexual intent. He doesn’t seem to have much respect for the personal space for people of either gender.

    I’m a registered D who does not intend to vote for him in the primary, but I’m also a woman who lives in the world and has experienced many different types of unwelcome sexual attention in her life. I like personal space and lots of it, but some people do seem to have a built-in obliviousness to other people’s comfort levels. I have a.n acquaintance like this–I haven’t gotten a hug (yet), but I find myself inching backward every time we chat because he keeps getting closer … and closer. It makes me mildly uncomfortable, but I don’t sense any kind of sexual vibe at all. The flavor of it is just totally different from the sexual harassment I’ve encountered. He’s doesn’t pick up on my cues, but he’s not hitting on me or sexualizing me, and I think he would be a bit mortified if he knew how much it bugged me. I actually read him as kind of insecure and overcompensating by (literally) getting too close.

    I have certainly encountered guys who get too close who *are* doing it in a sexual way, but there are usually other red flags. Those guys box you in a corner and start saying gross and inappropriate things quickly thereafter. If Biden has made sexual comments to women bothered by his excessive proximity, I haven’t heard about it–though please direct me to articles if I’m mistaken.

    To classify all “invades my space/makes me uneasy” behavior as predatory is to diminish the gravity of the malice inherent to sexual harassment when they mean it–when they want you to experience it as a degradation. Those people at Kmart meant to degrade you. I’m not persuaded Biden’s behavior is intended to degrade anyone.

    1. I have never seen Biden burying his nose in a man’s hair the way he does to women. Whether he’s intending degradation as such is beside the point — he’s intentionally doing something that is, in fact, degrading, and he’s doing it with (at the very least) a willful disregard for their comfort. And he’s taking advantage of women’s overall socialization not to object. (Why haven’t you told your friendly, well-meaning acquaintance to back up?)

      1. I think intent matters a great deal. My acquaintance isn’t as old as Biden, but he is a fair bit older than I am (and I’m well past the first blush of youth, shall we say), and I don’t want to make him feel bad or create unnecessary awkwardness when I run into him. I live in a small and close-knit neighborhood, so I’m going to keep seeing him when I’m out and about, and it’s frankly just not that big of a deal to me.

        You could argue that my attitude shows that women are socialized to be passive, etc., but like I said: I’ve encountered “real” sexual harassment and plenty of it, and I wasn’t at all passive about it. I’m very lucky in that the most severe harassment I encountered was actually taken seriously by the company I was working for at the time–the harasser was not employed by them, but he barred from the premises, and I never had to see him again.

        I don’t see Biden’s past actions as demonstrating a willful disregard for women’s comfort. It’s possible that he maybe gets some sort of subconscious thrill from being so touchy-feely, but even so, it’s not like he’s been copping feels all these years (as George HW Bush was apparently in the habit of doing). Dude is 76. I do think someone should have clued him in before, but now that he knows, he says he’ll try to avoid creating discomfort in the future. I don’t think his behavior is ideal, but I think it makes liberals (of whom I am one) seem more than a bit hysterical and ridiculous to equate unwelcome hair-smelling with unwanted vulva-touching or even unwanted butt-grabbing.

  3. It shouldn’t take Joe Biden to convince anyone that the Democratic Party cares more about power than women. The Kennedys. Chappaquiddick. Bill Clinton.

    1. In what universe? I am a feminist and therefore I vote Democratic, always and for every race. To do otherwise is to elect open woman-haters and wife-beaters. Are the Dems particularly good on women’s issues? Of course not because they are, even at this date, mostly men. Still, I vote to keep that small crack open because voting for Republicans means slamming it shut. The Dems aren’t my friends but the Republicans are openly my enemies.

  4. I feel like the DNC learned NOTHING from the 2016 elections (because it was the Russians, blah, blah, blah). They are going to nominate yet again an pitiful candidate (although I think they believe Biden is a “safe” candidate, a nice guy) and we’re going to get another four years of awfulness. If Bernie were pro-life, I’d vote for him. As it is, I vote third party as a protest vote. I’m beginning to think like Dorothy Day that Catholics should just drop out of this miserable system altogether. “Don’t vote; it only encourages them.”

    1. Voting 3rd Party is effectively voting Republican. Your insistence on your own purity kills other women. Please remember that.

      1. Of course republicans who similarly think they own a dree thinking persons vote will tell you that voting 3rd party is effecticely voting for a Democrat. So from what i can tell it appears that voting 3rd party is like voting twice! Awesome!

      1. Thanks for summing up the Trump opposition perfectly: no substantive arguments against; only 100% ad hominem attack histrionics.

        Thanks for making the point better than I could.

        Trump for America 2020!

        1. So name a policy of the Trump administration that gives women specifically, and not as adjuncts to their husbands, more money or power?

            1. That’s a tenditious editorial, not an actual description, and anyway my question was about policies designed to advance the interests of women in particular, not general stuff about the economy. What has Trump or the Republicans done for WOMEN?

              1. I just did!

                But you want more: Save babies, secure border, decrease crime, increase standard of living, increase wages, protect religious freedom to list a few more.

                Now you have to tell us what “tenditious” means.

                1. Not one of those things benefits women specifically. For Republicans, increasing wages means increasing MEN’S wages only and actually means a reduction in women’s wages since Republicans want to confine women to an exclusively domestic role where we are helplessly dependent on husbands or fathers, with no ability to escape abusive relationships. So long as women are wretched, conservatives are happy.

    1. “ProLife, ProWoman, ProCatholic” – You keep using those words. I don’t think they mean what you think they mean…

    2. In what universe? I am a feminist and therefore I vote Democratic, always and for every race. To do otherwise is to elect open woman-haters and wife-beaters. Are the Dems particularly good on women’s issues? Of course not because they are, even at this date, mostly men. Still, I vote to keep that small crack open because voting for Republicans means slamming it shut. The Dems aren’t my friends but the Republicans are openly my enemies.

            1. Explain why any woman who thinks women deserve to be full participants in public life would ever vote Republican?

                1. Listen to what? You never say anything. If Trump is so good for women you should haven no trouble listing one policy of his that benefits primarily women. You have not done so; therefore, I conclude that no such policies exist. Republicans and conservatives all believe women are inferior to men and intend to enforce this opinion with laws.

                2. But you probably wont listen to reality; you give no evidence of doing thus far (despite evidence) preferring to rest in your pwn feverish conspiracy theories.

                  Trump and the GOP will win again and you’ll have four more years of benefit as a woman.

        1. Wow, this is the most hilariously quintessential gem of Catholic online passive-aggression I have ever encountered.

  5. Well said Mrs Fisher.
    Although I live in a completely different country it’s quite obvious that the democrat choices in a the next election are horrific.
    “Hmmm do we pick the obvious child killer, the mad socialist or the creepy Uncle? Unfortunately most of them are all of those things. For all of his faults POTUS is quite obviously an America First leader and that plus his support of many decent concepts should make him an obvious choice for a second term.
    If only we had a leader like that in the UK.

  6. I’m really sorry you had to go through that horrendous experience at KMart. This election will once again be a choice between the lesser of two evils. And of course, if you live in NY like I do, your vote means nothing due to our lovely Electoral College system.

      1. I get that, but it’s still not fair that in certain states like mine, my vote literally counts for nothing. We need a new system that will give a voice both to the residents of low-population states, as well as to the residents of predominantly blue and red states.

      2. States don’t have interests; people do. In the words of someone smarter than I am, dirt can’t vote. If your ideas are good, then you should be able to persuade enough people to vote for your candidate. Otherwise, well, this is a democracy and the majority should be able to win elections. I don’t see why less than half the country should be able to decide policy for more than half.

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