On May 1, I watched the Democratic presumptive nominee for president, Joe Biden, defend himself on MSNBC against sexual assault allegations from one of his previous employees, Tara Reade.
I felt upset — but not surprised.
By now, I have seen many men in powerful positions take advantage of women. To name a few: former President Bill Clinton, who had sexual relations with an intern while he was supposed to be fulfilling his duty as a public servant; Brett Kavanaugh, who allegedly raped a woman and was still appointed to the Supreme Court to uphold our standards of morality; and, of course, President Donald Trump, who, according to Business Insider, has been the subject of at least 25 sexual assault allegations from women and talks with machismo pride about each instance.
I feel powerless as a 15-year-old girl, too young to vote. I feel powerless as I watch female Democrats side with Biden. I feel powerless as I watch a moral issue become a partisan issue. And I certainly feel powerless watching two men who allegedly committed sexual assault compete in the 2020 election to be president.
How can anyone be expected to uphold our laws when the people making these laws don’t uphold them themselves?
The hypocrisy that has become prevalent within politics is damning. Biden’s alleged personal actions fall out of alignment with the legislation he passes, such as the Violence Against Women Act. I’m thankful this was implemented, but I’m disturbed to know that Biden’s support of women might not extend to the way he treats them in his personal life.
I’m also frustrated that his stance on sexual assault is not steadfast. When Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her, Biden responded, “For a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus nationally, you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she is talking about is real, whether or not she forgets the facts, whether or not it’s been made worse or better over time.” Sadly, his opinion seems to have changed now that he is being accused.
Just as disturbing, if not more, is that women in power who have the opportunity to speak on behalf of the women they represent also have succumbed to the political nature of this ethical issue.
Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, recently said, “With all the respect in the world for any woman who comes forward, I have the highest regard for Joe Biden. And that’s what I have to say about that.”
This shouldn’t be about parties or political agendas. This should be about electing a president who is capable of modeling the appropriate treatment of others.