Tara Reade & the race to the bottom

“Believe women . . . when it serves your agenda”

Feminism/womanism constitute standpoint-movements. They look at the world, constructed as it has been for millennia by and for powerful men, and try to flip the script by describing what this world looks like from the standpoint of those who move about in that world in a body (situation) recognizable as “women.”

One of feminism’s contested arenas, a critical one, has been sex.

In a male-dominant world — even one with women who serve as honorary men in positions of power — women share physical space with men, and yet women, generally speaking, occupy a different phenomenological space altogether. Men do not check the back seats of their cars before they get in; most women I know do. Because women are living with the constant threat of rape. Some men in some situations are at risk of being raped; but most women live with this as a chronic threat.

In the past couple of years, in our celebrity-obsessed culture, several well-known and powerful men have been pulled down from their thrones by women who outed these men as sexual predators. Thus we had the viral spread of #metoo to the masses, because there are very few women who haven’t been harassed, mashed on, or assaulted by men.

This is bad, and believing it is bad would seem to constitute some kind of bottom line for anyone espousing something called feminism or womanism.

Which brings me to a list of women who publicly claim to be feminists, which includes Hillary Clinton, Stacey Abrams, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren — all speculative Vice Presidential picks for Joe Biden’s Presidential run against Trump. Certainly, there are more female hypocrites, including women committing journalistic malpractice for the Democratic Party in the media, though they don’t have as much riding on it as the ambitions of those who would sit a blood clot away from Biden’s Presidency.

These “feminists” are all uniformly ignoring the ever more credible sexual assault allegations made by Tara Reade against Senator Biden. And there is not a shred of doubt that every one of them knows the allegations and knows that there is more evidence of this allegation’s veracity than there was against Brett Kavanaugh . . . as just one example.

Don’t get me wrong; I think Kavanaugh is a rapey-mashy piece of shit. This isn’t about whether Christine Blasey Ford told the truth. I believe she did, because there was no percentage in it for her except to tell the truth, and because she wasn’t alone. More than one women came forward to say that Judge Brett enjoys getting drunk and showing his dick to women as his go-to opening rape gambit. (One of Brett’s colleagues, if we’ll recall, is Clarence Thomas. During Thomas’s fractious confirmation hearing, a younger Joe Biden viciously attacked Anita Hill, who’d accused Thomas of . . . sexual harassment. We boys gotta stick together, after all.)

Ms. Ford (like Anita Hill) was treated abominably, and she has now been ground up in the wheels of political ambition and cover-up. Just like Tara Reade.

The difference is that Tara Reade is being intentionally ignored (and even attacked) by Democratic women. (Democratic men, too, but men in general are predisposed to treat women like shit.) The Democratic mantra during the show trial of Brett Kavanaugh was “believe women.” I think that’s a good mantra (no, not as some “absolute” . . . jeez!), because false sexual assault allegations are a small fraction of total allegations, and because any women who levels an accusation can expect to be dragged through the mud for her trouble. We already know, in fact, that this unfortunate fact results in only a fraction of the victims of sexual assault ever coming forward in the first place. Sexual Assault 101, right?

Yesterday, on the same day that more people came forward to corroborate Tara Reade’s allegations, Hillary Clinton endorsed Joe Biden. Fitting really, because Clinton — a long time friend of Harvey Weinsten — has a record of attacking a sexual predator’s victims — her estranged husband’s.

I’ll tell you who is not ignoring these allegations: Fox News and the Trump campaign apparatus. They’re going to use them to beat Biden like a kettle drum, day in and day out. Glass house, you may say, but that fails to account for the fact that many Trump supporters long for the good old days of couverture, and they kinda like rape culture. It’s hypocrisy they’ll expose. Biden has already given them the drumsticks. Not Tara Reade, Biden!

The drumbeat from Trump-obsessed Democrats has been to vote-blue-no-matter-who. I understand this “defensive prudence,” and I’ll probably do it myself. But my commitment to VBNMW is motivated by the belief — shared by many who want to tactically remain silent about Biden’s problems — that Trump’s narcissistic corruption and grotesque stupidity are a special kind of threat that really could slide into fascism, or nuclear holocaust.

Here’s the problem with evading Biden’s creepy predatory past, apart from the bigger problem of women being thrown under the bus — AGAIN — in support of “urgent” and “necessary” political Machiavellianism. You and I and those who cleave to this Trump-centrism aren’t the only ones voting.

There are millions of women who’ve been victimized by their own personal Bidens who just cannot bring themselves to vote for a sexual predator. I understand tactical defensive prudence in the fight to unseat Trump. I also understand why sexual assault victims and their loved ones will not be able to bring themselves to vote for this senescent masher. Neither you nor I will convince them otherwise, because their trauma is too real and to close to set it aside on behalf of someone else’s political calculations.

Speaking in purely practical, tactical terms (believe me, this is not my bottom line!), Tara Reade’s allegation is (1) growing legs and (2) WILL ABSOLUTELY suppress turnout, a tremendous advantage for Trump. So what I’m saying is that the stars are aligned in such a way that there is one correct option for (1) the neoliberal bosses in the Democratic Party, (2) everyone who wants to see Trump gone, and (3) the world in general. Get rid of Joe Biden, fast! Or we risk four more years of Trump.

Obviously, I take a great deal for granted here, given the volatile situation in the world right now as COVID-19 tips an already fragile capitalist order toward a catastrophic fall. All bets are off. The next election could be a referendum on how Trump handles COVID-19. No one knows what will happen now. We haven’t reached a fork in the road . . . the road has ended in a vast wilderness of uncertainty.

All the more reason we refuse to accept this race to the bottom wherein we can choose which rapey, cognitively-challenged asshole will lead us out of an unprecedented morass. I tend to believe that Biden is slightly less likely to launch nukes as a diversion that Trump — a real thing; but again . . . Biden is a loser out of the gate with this. There, now I’ve answered the knee-jerk reactions. The only candidate weaker than Biden might be Clinton herself. Let’s move on.

Back to hypocrisy . . . and back to Tara Reade. Encouraged by the media-hyped and opportunistically engaged #metoo-for-politicians, Reade overcame the fear all women feel when reporting these crimes, and decided to add her name to the #metoo list. And here is where it gets extremely ugly. The Democratic Party mountebanks, who were fully on board with preventing the Kavanaugh appointment, met Tara Reade’s allegations with counter-accusations: her support for candidate Sanders motivated her to make it up, or . . . my favorite, she is a Russian agent.

Every one of you who did this, and everyone who repeated it . . . you are accessories after the fact. You, too, attacked a victim.

As the news continues to trickle in about this allegation — all of it supportive — watch them try and thread the needle on this one. History will remember them . . . and not kindly.

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Author of the books “Hideous Dream,” “Full Spectrum Disorder,” “Borderline,” “Mammon’s Ecology,” and “Tough Gynes.”

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Stan Goff

Author of the books “Hideous Dream,” “Full Spectrum Disorder,” “Borderline,” “Mammon’s Ecology,” and “Tough Gynes.”