BETHANY MANDEL: The delusion of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s feminist harassers.
I remember when we were told that we had to elect Joe Biden as president because of the deep and undeniable misogyny of then-President Donald Trump. We were told Biden would be a breath of fresh air and bring back decency and morality to the office.
Fast forward to yesterday, when Biden was asked about Arizona’s Sen. Kyrsten Sinema being followed and taped in a public restroom by activists hounding the lawmaker for answers about their political grievances. He was asked, “Are these tactics crossing a line?” It was a golden opportunity for the president to defend the rights of women everywhere, to uphold the expectation for privacy in the most intimate spaces and to repudiate intimidation and unlawful filming. Instead, he laughed and replied, “I don’t think they’re appropriate tactics but it happens to everybody. The only people they don’t happen to are people who have Secret Service standing around. It’s part of the process.”
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Leah Libresco Sargeant pointed out on Twitter why this discomforted many women, myself included: “Look, the reason people (especially women) try to hold the line on small boundaries and taboos is that once a person breaks a small, non-violent rule; you shift your expectations about whether they’re on the cusp of breaking a violent one. Don’t chase people into bathrooms.”
Exit questions: “If following a woman into a bathroom, violating her privacy and designed to intimidate her is now acceptable practice, where is the new line? Is there even one? Do norms exist anymore? This is a watershed moment and the opening of a true Pandora’s box of badness in our politics and one that won’t come without unintended consequences.”