Joe Biden and the hypocrisy of #MeToo
Tara Reade's accusations about Joe Biden have exposed something already expected about the #MeToo movement: that it could, and would, be exploited for political purposes. In this case, the fact that the most vocal members of the movement have chosen to remain silent speaks volumes. Those who have been forced to talk about the subject have released statements with such extreme amorphic properties that they appear utterly meaningless. No condemnations of Biden have been seen, no calls for investigations, no support for Reade. Instead, we are faced with statements such as "Joe Biden is Joe Biden" from Nancy Pelosi, as if that means anything at all. What this tells the world is that activists and politicians believe we should hold men accountable unless a man happens to be running against President Trump.
It was only two years ago when Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to the Supreme Court, and the #MeToo movement turned its full ire on him amid his confirmation process. There were protests at the Capitol, with people in the streets demanding that his nomination be withdrawn. People labeled him a sexual predator. Outlandish, and now fully debunked, stories ran about him being involved in an underground gang rape circuit. The media ran with every claim brought to their attention. The retractions came much later, but Kavanaugh was guilty until proven innocent.
The allegation at the center of the Kavanaugh story were based on the testimony of one person. When Dr. Ford stepped forward to make her claims, she provided no hard evidence, no witnesses to the crime. She could not remember where the party took place, or how she got to and from the house in question. She told a couple of people over the course of the last thirty years of the incident, but that was the extent of the proof offered. What she did have, as opposed to concrete evidence, was a story she told with what reports characterized as dignity and an air of truthfulness around her. Brett Kavanaugh denied this story in its entirety, but this "he said, she said" was enough for the #MeToo movement to convict Kavanaugh in the court of public opinion.
Now Tara Reade has stepped forward to accuse Joe Biden of sexual assault. The evidence in this case is as strong, or stronger, than in the Kavanaugh case. Reade stated she made an official sexual harassment complaint with the Senate, though that has yet to be located. Reade's mother called into Larry King Live to say her daughter had a problem with a prominent senator and wanted to know what she should do to get help. Reade also told people in her life about the incident, so we have contemporaneous verification. Reade also remembers the year this happened and the location. She claimed she was reassigned after she made her complaint, and it appears there is evidence that this happened. What is missing for the #MeToo activists to speak up?
None of this is to say Joe Biden is guilty, nor should we treat him as such. This simply puts the hypocrisy of the #MeToo movement on display for all to see. The harshest critics of Kavanaugh have discovered that due process is now a good idea. We do not need to impugn the motives of Dr. Ford or Mrs. Reade to acknowledge that we cannot have a system designed to ruin the lives of the accused based on accusations alone. Those who had the most charged rhetoric about Kavanaugh will never admit it was a mistake, despite the softened tone with regard to Biden. The best hope is that they have finally realized that "beyond a reasonable doubt" never should have been replaced by a "preponderance of the evidence" or the even worse "believe all women."