Joe Biden -A Touchy Subject

Joe Biden’s behavior has become a touchy subject.

A second woman has come forward accusing the former Vice President of inappropriate contact that made her feel uncomfortable. I have no doubt these women felt uncomfortable, and am genuinely sorry for their unease, but it may say more about them than about Joe. Not all offenses are of equal value. It is up to us to determine the context and purpose of it all.

Viewing any non-erotic touch as the first step towards a sexual encounter is an erroneous belief and an obstacle in appreciating and understanding the importance of human touch.

Physical touch is a primal communication method.  Joe Biden is a tactile communicator. That does not make him a sexual predator. His long and colorful history of being touchy feely with everyone is now coming under the microscope of the MeToo Movement. At worst his behavior may point to his being out of touch to the times.

America has long been a touch-phobic society. And now more than ever we avoid touching each other for fear of litigation or accusation.

Is this where we want the MeToo movement to go?

MeToo isn’t about invading space or creating discomfort.  It’s about sexual assault and rape which are violen crimes. MeToo must begin to recognize a spectrum of harm.

The debate touches me deeply.

As a sexual assault survivor these accusations discredit and diminish mine and other sexual assault victims.

Are we as a culture so removed from the genuine affection and kindness of a spontaneous human touch that any embrace is now seen through the lens of lechery? Joe’s spontaneous physical gestures of tenderness, warmth and empathy are not bound by gender, and are generationally informed.

Touch is primal.

It’s how we communicate non verbally. From what I observe, Joe’s touches are the touch of consolation, of empathy. He offers a reassuring touch, a playful touch, and  a celebratory touch.

As we become more removed from human contact and actual face to face time, does basic human contact and empathy seem weird?

In the age of Trump it would.

 

 

14 comments

  1. Robert Murray

    Oh, now I get, it is the age of Trump that brought forth complaints about this “empathetic, playful” touching is it? Strange, it is not the hands of Trump that has evoked the reaction of the young woman in the accompanying photo. T hey are the hands of Mr. Biden.

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  2. I’m thrilled to read this. To a southern European, this case seems absurd.

    Liked by 1 person

    • To many of us here it does as well. In other countries where touch is open and commonplace among people, anti-social behavior is significantly lower than in societies where touch is discouraged. Such as the US. But Americans live in a touch-phobic society that has become even more entrenched with the lack of physical contact between people.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s derived from Puritan Christianity, isn’t it? A sort of paranoid schizophrenic relationship with the human body. And not just a friendly touch – remember the scandal that followed the collective glimpse of Janet Jackson’s nipple?

        Liked by 2 people

      • Our country still clings to its Puritanical roots. I would say your description of our culture being paranoid schizophrenic is pretty accurate. And now with a sociopath narcissist in the oval office, we are one hot mess.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Fantastic Sally. The filthy mud being slung in Biden’s direction is a prime example of Trump and this Administration’s use of projection times 100. The Pussy Grabber grabbing Biden’s reputation. It’s horrifying.

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  4. Laura B.

    Thank you for wording this so eloquently. I support the MeToo movement 100% – at the same time, I don’t think it is fair to compare a well-meaning pat on the shoulder to a violent sexual assault. It discredits the movement and those who are empowered by it. In my circles, whenever the MeToo movement is mentioned, it is met with eye rolls, head shaking, and sometimes derisive laughter. It’s sad for all concerned.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad I could give voice to your feelings. That this should get intertwined with the MeToo movement is a shame. At best it’s an issue of boundaries but not sexual assault. I am sorry you are met with such a derisive reaction to the MeToo Movement which is such an important and groundbreaking movement for women to give voice when for too long they have been silenced.

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  5. Yet, a man who is a serial adulterer, pxxxy grabber, kiss stealer, alleged sexual assaulter of young girls who pays a lawyer to take care of women who are going to expose him for having had sexual intercourse with them occupies the White House. This country is sick!

    I personally thought the Franken matter resolution was extreme, too, in view of the low standard set by the man in the White House.

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    • That this discussion is being bandied about in the media as the serial sexual assaulter sits in the oval office unscathed is mind-boggling and sickening. I agree as well that Franken got steamrolled without an adequate opportunity to explain himself.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The fact that the religious right has made a deal with the devil and support Trump unconditionally, a man who personifies the 7 deadly sins of pride, greed, lust. envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth, is beyond me.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Very insightful article. As an irishman i look at american politics right now and it utterly baffles me (as i’m sure it does many americans). Biden has not displayed predatory behaviour (that we know of) but your president absolutely has. Human contact is so important for healthy relationships. If we condemn anyone who touches anyone as a sexual predator it detracts from the very valid accusations of people who have actually been assaulted. Again, brilliantly written piece 😊

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