Believing or not believing Joe Biden has very little to do with him. The context in which some are professing support and “belief” and others are expressing their rage and frustration matters. That context is the patriarchal and racist institutions of which he, and we, are products. That context pushes women to comply and be obedient, and punishes us when we aren’t.
It’s in this context that an undue burden is being placed on women, both white women who prop up the patriarchy in their own self-interest, and women of color, who have worked to make our institutions more equitable and accountable. Institutional white male supremacy pervades our economy, our democracy, the media. It allows each of these institutions to leave the fundamental humanity and agency of women in the garbage pail of history.
I have been a Democrat from the day I first became a citizen in 2000. And in my early days as a political novice, I was a true believer. Over time, I also became one of the Democratic elite, you could say. I participate in the pageantry of conventions and debates, and I emphatically support Democratic women of color. But I appreciate now that the party is also a product of our society, that it is deeply flawed and a victim of its own success. The more reliable its base of Black women and other voters of color, the more it takes us for granted. The more we show up, the less it matters how they nurture and respond to us.
What we have now is a Democratic party whose desire to gain control over the Presidency, keep the House and maybe flip the Senate transcends all else. It transcends allegations of sexual harassment, it transcends potential senility, it transcends a troubled record on race and gender. And perhaps most importantly, it devalues its base because it knows we don’t have an alternative. Joe Biden will not save us, but Donald Trump will destroy us.
Biden has pledged that he will choose a woman as his running mate. And women are auditioning to be his Vice President. Some of us are angry that he’s not being held accountable, for Tara Reade, Anita Hill. Some of us are more forgiving. But it’s not him we forgive. It’s the institutions that bred him, the ones we want to be accepted by and into. We are engaging in the appropriate performative response — preserving ourselves by believing in the process. A…