Thoughts on Joe Biden, Donald Trump, and penis measuring

Thoughts on Joe Biden, Donald Trump, and penis measuring

Full disclosure: For all his transgressions, I still like Joe Biden. I know, he's "Senator from MBNA". And his treatment of Anita Hill was nothing short of horrid, allowing cipher Clarence Thomas to take the Supreme Court seat once held by the titan Thurgood Marshall. I get all this. However, I balance this out with his performance as Barack Obama's vice president, and Pres. Obama's obvious love for him. Do I want him to run for president in 2020? No, I don't. Third time won't be the charm, and we don't need another septuagenarian in the White House, even though Joe would be orders of magnitude more qualified than the current squatter.

Also more full disclosure: As a guy surrounded by women in his life, both professionally and personally, I can understand Joe's declaration that he would have taken someone like Trump behind the gym and beaten him up for his treatment of women. Hell, I took a kick in the thigh protecting my mostly female staff last month. And if he had persisted, I definitely would have thrown punches.

However. Most women don't want to depend on the good graces of good men to defend their honor. I would gather that most women are perfectly capable of doing so themselves. Women don't want to be protected flowers, sheltered from a cruel, harsh world. They want to fully participate in that world, without having to fear the men who inhabit it.

Joe Biden's declaration that he'd beat up Donald Trump really does nothing to further that project. This is another instance of the white knight coming to save the damsel in distress, a formulation that is every bit as sexist and fraught with peril as are the actions of an arch misogynist like Trump. It's that culture of dependency which has to be rooted out. As long as women are reliant on the succor of men, equality is a mere dream.

I can understand Joe's old-world concern with defending women. But in the 21st century, defending women means empowering them. It means changing the culture so that women are not second thoughts. It means transforming male-female relationships so that women are not mere adjuncts to men, needing protection.

I understand Joe. If any man threatened a woman I loved, they'd have to get through me. But this misses the larger point. We have to get past outdated notions of chivalry to a new paradigm where men and women have equal opportunities and equal responsibilities. It needs to be a paradigm where the "good" men don't feel the need to defend women from people like Trump, because the culture makes people like Trump so toxic that they gain no purchase.

In this as in so many other things, Trump spoke to a demographic which sought out the sureties of past times, to times where, as Archie Bunker sang, "goils were goils and men were men". That's the toxicity we're fighting. And old-world chivalry won't overcome it. What's needed is a new chivalry, where men stand proudly next to women, not in front of women protecting them. Then we can truly say things are changing.



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