#metoo
#metoo

#IBelieveTara: Joe Biden Shouldn't Get A Free Pass

When it comes to sexual assault, there is no room for partisan favoritism.

#IBelieveTara: Joe Biden Shouldn't Get A Free Pass

When I saw Alexandra Tara Reade's Twitter profile picture on Twitter, I couldn't help but be reminded of my own mother, Sharon, and the cat she used to own named Spooker.

This is them together, when I was still young and before Spooker passed away.

Interestingly enough, the flowers behind Tara also reminded me of my grandmother, Sadie, whose favorite color was lavender.

Both my mother and grandmother were also victims of domestic violence.

When I saw her picture, I knew I had to write a piece on this issue. It's time for each of us to step up when these sorts of things happen, to demand accountability from our institutions, and to make sure we create a culture that does not fail these people any longer.

We live in politically frightening times. I've written before that I can forgive Democratic voters for wanting safety and security in the form of Joe Biden, a man who, in stark contrast with Donald Trump, still manages to maintain an aura of Obama-era poise when it comes to his political image.

We should, however, be smart enough to realize by now that the political or professional image that is presented to the outside world all-too-often conceals a much more sinister ugliness that lurks within.

For decades, it has been easy for the likes of Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump, and now Democratic front-runner Joe Biden to hide behind their long, illustrious careers to escape accountability for their actions and to abuse victims with impunity.

All they've had to do to run away from confronting their victims and face accountability for their actions is smile for the camera, shake the right hands, and say the right things.

We need to start having higher standards when it comes to this issue, especially when it comes to who wields power and authority over the rest of us.

Our leaders set the example for the rest of the nation, and on the #MeToo front, our leadership scene is abysmal.

I could also forgive any reader for thinking that this is a politically motivated piece, given that it's no secret at this point that I'm a staunch Bernie supporter (since 2016!) and that my dream for America is for it to have a true working-class President seated in the Oval Office come November.

I'm comfortable openly admitting that anything that increases the chances of Bernie winning the nomination to make that dream a reality gives me reason to continue hoping for a brighter political future for America.

But this is not a politically motivated piece.

This piece was written in the spirit of thinking about the world my mother grew up in, a world that still has not put an end to domestic and sexual violence.

This is a piece in support of people who find themselves in confrontation with a system that denies them their dignity, and authorities who simply do not care to hear the stories of what they have been through.

This is a piece in support of those who, when facing the realization that there is simply no one to listen, no one to care, find themselves feeling alone and isolated, when what we should have is a society that tends to their wounds.

Sexual assault is an issue that cuts across all demographics. It does not know partisan divides, nor does it discriminate between black and white, rich and poor, gay and straight, or man and woman. Everyone is at risk of facing it at some point in their lives, and none of us are emotionally equipped with how to handle it if it does happen, or how to heal in the aftermath of such an incident.

How much worse must it be to have to confront a political machine such as the one that has gathered around a man like Joe Biden? I would imagine it feels exactly the same way that Donald Trump's victims felt when they had to go against the GOP and it's media allies.

What would it feel like to be gaslighted by society, and worse, by one's own political allies? It would feel like hell.

Some of the tweets I've read in response to Tara's #MeToo story are harrowing.

Some folks immediately jumped into a lesser of two evils argument, trying to blame-shift things over to Trump, rather than deal with this particular individual's story in a way that affords it the time and attention it deserves.

Some have used the ridiculous argument that she should have stepped forward sooner, which of course the very same argument made by defenders of Donald Trump once accusations started being levied against him in 2016.

The fact of the matter is, no one who has been victimized in such ways, and by people who are so high up in our power structures, know when the "proper" time to step forward is.

When would you decide to take on the entire U.S. political machine to tell your sexual assault story? Would you ever feel like you had the courage to do that, if it meant being told you were wrong by millions of people?

Given the tendency for proponents of the #MeToo movement to be left-leaning, it can't have been easy for Tara to step forward, knowing that it would put her at odds with many of the same people that she was working for when she was a senate aide for Joe Biden.

But we have to start demanding better leaders. We have to stop giving a free pass to this kind of behavior. And on the behavioral front, Joe Biden has a long track-record of non-consensual touching/groping that should give the rest of us cause for concern.

A caring, empathetic human being does not feel the need to engage in those kinds of activities.

Full stop.

Joe Biden does not get a free pass on sexual assault allegations because he is the establishment left's media darling, favored to win the nomination and fated to lead the unification of a post-Trump America.

In fact, he should be examined even harder, as he is supposedly championing that front of American politics that stands in stark opposition against these sorts of things.

We should pay close attention to how the media treats Tara and her story in the coming weeks.

Will she be silenced and minimized to push through a political agenda, thus validating a broken system that ignores the needs of victims, or will they take her seriously, and will Joe Biden have the courage to confront the allegation in a way that at least opens up the possibility for some genuine healing?

We can only hope that America is better than that, that the left is better than that, and that Alexandra Tara Reade finds the validation and healing she so desperately needs in these trying times.

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Colton Tanner Casados-Medve
Colton Tanner Casados-Medve
Read next: The State
Colton Tanner Casados-Medve

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