Opposition towards the Trump administration has skyrocketed in the wake of continual Black Lives Matter demonstrations. Many, even Republicans, have called out Trump’s handling of the protests problematic, inadequate, and even opportunistic. He has routinely called on the military to intervene in peaceful protests, blatantly incited violence, and taken advantage of the political climate to take favorable photos. Just as anger against Trump grows, so does appreciation for Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden.
Recently, my social media feeds have been flooded with endorsements of Biden, often accompanied by images of him with protesters. I don’t mind this; I’ll be the first to admit that Trump proves himself more incompetent and bigoted each day. However, in our rush to disavow the Trumpian ideologies, we should be careful to embrace Joe Biden, and the Democratic party in general, as our savior.
For one, Biden still has sexual assault allegations against him that the Democratic machinery has conveniently swept under the rug. Tara Reade’s sexual assault accusations against Biden has not been met with the outrage it should have been. Reade’s accusations have been ignored for decades and we are continuing to dismiss her now.
In fact, at this point, it’s rare to see any articles or publications telling her story. Rather, Democrats have done their best to push it aside, make excuses, and maintain an idealistic image of Biden.
But we can’t pretend that Reade’s story is irrelevant, or an isolated incident. After all, let’s never forget that Biden voted to confirm Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas in the wake of sexual assault accusations from Anita Hill.
Staffers of his have even come out and voiced their discomfort about the environment that Biden creates.
Biden’s reputation with sexual assault has always been problematic, whether it be allegations against him or his support of other harassers.
But, with this along with growing political tension between civilians and the police, one of the most important issues on people’s minds right now is police reform. Both of these misgivings unsurprisingly go hand in hand. It is all about the maintenance of power. Trump has made his stance clear in that he continues to support the status quo of police departments and tactics. Consequently, hate mounts against him each and every day as he attempts to justify the violence of the police.
However, I’m hesitant to say that Biden is the opposite of Trump in his policies.
For example, Biden recently said that police need to be trained to shoot people in the legs rather than in more fatal ways. Why not teach them not to shoot at all, while upholstering any surviving racist tactics or training? Essentially, to Biden, police reform doesn’t mean changing the culture of authority in this country, or ensuring accountability. It just means making sure officers only maim, not kill.
Biden today on police training: "Instead of standing there and teaching a cop when there's an unarmed person comin' at 'em with a knife or something to shoot 'em in the leg instead of the heart is a very different thing." pic.twitter.com/2xgqvlQtJ2
— The Recount (@therecount) June 1, 2020
Biden has a slippery reputation with racism. During his time as Senator, Biden played a major role in the rise of mass incarceration. And he was proud of it.
He worked with segregationists on criminal justice policies that pushed the country towards the racist and troubling policies of today.
And recently, in an interview with Charlamagne Tha God, Biden stated that “if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”
It’s clear that Biden is using the fact that he’s a Democrat to excuse all his behavior and continue to market himself as the best choice for Black people and other marginalized groups. But we can’t avoid holding him accountable anymore.
I don’t write this article to discourage voting or democratic political engagement. Obviously, if you are able to, please do vote. It’s undeniable that in our society voting is the most powerful tool that citizens have. However, we must not forget that voting alone is not enough. We must also hold Biden accountable for his actions, too. The lesser of two evils logic might justify us voting for him, but it does not, in any way, excuse his behavior. That is reprehensible.
When we are too fast to assume Biden as a hero, we fail to hold him accountable. Often, when I mention Biden’s flaws to people and the importance of making him confront his problematic views, I’m told that highlighting his flaws will only ensure another Trump presidency. Here’s what I say.
Hold them both accountable for their actions. What’s stopping us from doing that? Democrats are always racing to highlight how dangerous, bigoted, and supremacist Trump is. Republicans are always quick to highlight Biden’s precarious reputation.
But accountability shouldn’t be a partisan issue. We shouldn’t be ignoring the narratives of Tara Reade and Anita Hill just because we want Biden to secure the presidency, the same way Republicans cannot keep ignoring the incompetence and bigotry that Trump continues to display, even more so now amid a harrowing pandemic and widespread calls for civil rights reform.
Whoever our next president is, don’t we want them to be conscious of their problematic views, apologetic of their past, and open to true change? Because, if we don’t force our politicians to claim responsibility to their actions, can we really expect our society to change?
Biden may be the best choice for America at this point, but that doesn’t mean we should be excusing his actions for the sake of partisan politics. Being a democrat does not equate to a shield from accountability for highly problematic and unruly behavior.