Stangl

Don’t look now, but we are back in the presidential campaign season.

Some might argue that the campaign never ended because it seems like the president really enjoys the scrum of the campaign.

While it seems like there are a lot of people running for the job, I would like to talk about what I see happening to someone who hasn’t yet officially entered the race.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, seen by some pundits to be the front runner when/if he gets in the race, has been dealing with accusations of inappropriate/unwanted contact by women.

The 24 hour cable news cycle is a voracious animal. There are 86,400 seconds of air time in each day and if let’s say half of the time is used by commercials, there are 43,200 seconds to fill. That’s a lot of time, and it seems to me that is a huge challenge for the people who run these services.

So what do they do? They have to fill it with something.

If you pay attention to these things, a story will get some air time, then get updated until it is played out. Controversies generally get hammered to death.

Full disclosure before I proceed: I am a man, a husband, a father of two daughters and grandfather of two granddaughters. I have worked with and around women for my entire career.

Let’s talk about Biden. I met him in Iowa when he was running for president. My youngest daughter, who was 18 at the time, met him as well. Biden spent over a half hour with my daughter, talking one on one (There were only four of us there). He shook her hand and leaned in close, nearly touching his forehead to the top of her head to explain that she needed to be gentle with her father because he was “very vulnerable” and she had me in the palm of her hand. It was a charming, endearing exchange.

He shook my hand firmly and looked me in the eye the entire time we spoke, answering my questions directly. As a person who covered presidential campaigns for 15 years in Iowa, I can tell you many of the people who seek the job will not look you in the eye, several have limp handshakes and many will not answer your questions directly.

Over the eight years he served as vice president, there were numerous accounts of “Joe being Joe,” where he would sit with people, put his arms around women and engage in “close talking” where you stand a bit too close to someone.

Did it make some people feel uncomfortable? Probably. Was it harmful? That, in my opinion, is debatable.

Make no mistake, I believe women have been coerced and coopted too many times by powerful men, but I believe the #metoo movement has become far too radicalized. An accusation alone is enough to ruin a person. The danger with all of these things is that we become so overly sensitive that we no longer are genuine with each other.

I believed in 2008 and still believe that Joe Biden would be a president that we could all be proud of. It would be a shame if radical sensitivity kept him from having the chance.

As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at tstangl@theameryfreepress.com, telephone 715-268-8101 or write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.

Thanks for reading; I’ll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same.