CSotD: I don’t disbelieves in them, neither

Signe Wilkinson offers a disturbing commentary on a disturbing situation, Tara Reade’s contention that she was sexually assaulted by Joe Biden.

It is a plain, historic fact that women’s accusations of sexual assault have too often been disbelieved, that “he said/she said” has far too often, too automatically come down on his side.

It’s important that we view “innocent until proven guilty” with the understanding that you won’t always have objective, irrefutable proof of a sexual assault, or, certainly, of unacceptable sexual behavior.

It’s also crucially important to note that, when a mob was looking for an excuse to lynch a black man, they would believe a woman’s rape charges, while, if they were looking to give him a seat on the Supreme Court, they would not even believe that he told dirty jokes.

Biden has repeatedly apologized for his sins of omission in that latter case, while only David Brock has apologized for his sins of commission in the matter, as far as I know.

Anita Hill declined to accept Biden’s apologies, and the right wing has refused to believe Brock’s account.

Thus the tangled webs we weave, and the pain that will not go away, and a good argument in favor of starting with the assumption that women don’t just make this stuff up.

But that, as Wilkinson’s feminist character reluctantly asterisks it, some restrictions apply.

Today’s headline comes from an apocryphal Southerner’s explanation of ghosts: “I don’t believes in them, but, then again, I don’t disbelieves in them, neither.”

It’s a twist on a similar Irish expression about the fairy folk: “I don’t believe in them, but they’re there.”

The difference being that the quote about ghosts is a good deal less certain. It’s not a comfortable uncertainty, but it’s an honest one, and honest skepticism — not the automatic kind — is a better approach to bring to this topic.

And the accusation that the “mainstream media” ignored the accusation simply won’t hold water.

Salon had a lengthy discussion of how reporters examined the case, as did the New York Times, as did the Washington Post.

Their research, which included substantial interviews with both the accuser and her purported witnesses, caused them to decide against further pursuit of the matter.

Not everyone accepts their decisions, but, in this case, the legal maxim “cui bono” — who benefits? — is worth asking, because much of the fervor for the accusation comes from that small-but-vocal militant segment of Bernie Sanders supporters who are refusing to accept his defeat. (Not that Trump supporters aren’t climbing aboard.)

The fact that Ms. Reade has numbered herself among them does not enhance her credibility, nor does her odd flirtation with Vladimir Putin.

In assessing her credibility, The Nation is even harder on her than those more mainstream news outlets.

There is a strong element of Swift Boating in the accusation, and in repeatedly bringing it up, and in rejecting the results of serious, competent investigations.

It may hurt Biden in what looks to be a tight race that, if Trump is re-elected, signals a final rightwing clampdown on the Supreme Court and a systematic rejection of rights and principles we’ve come to rely on in the past half century.

But even if it is totally ineffective in that regard, the asterisk it adds to the principle of believing accusers has damaged the honest victims of sexual assault.


And then there’s this

Matt Wuerker notes another place where pure idealism and cynical pragmatism collide.

I kind of wonder how many of the people proclaiming their love of employer-furnished health coverage are honest, objective commentators, as opposed to industry plants.

It strains credulity to think that all these people work in places where the employer pays 100% of their premiums. The majority of people with job-related health coverage can see on their pay stubs that they are paying a portion of their premiums.

It is also plain that they are responsible for various deductibles and co-pays, so that they would have to be astonishingly irresponsible not to realize that health coverage is costing them a substantial amount out of pocket.

It’s like a 15-year-old who thinks that the cost of owning a car is simply the cost of buying it, without realizing that he also needs to pay for insurance and gasoline, as well as maintenance.

Most 15-year-olds figure this out before they’re 16, and it’s hard to believe that any adult maintains that level of naivete about the cost of job-related health coverage.

Well, as Wuerker suggests, the current recession is going to acquaint them with COBRAs, if not with loss of coverage entirely.

Last time I was out of work, I struggled to pay COBRA along with rent and food, augmenting my unemployment by Ebaying a lot of meaningful antiques and collectibles it had taken a lifetime to assemble.

And when my COBRA ran out, I found that one-person health coverage was simply out of reach. I went three years without coverage before Obamacare came along, and it’s good my cancer did not announce itself before I was back on board

But, even with that experience, I’m not naive enough to think you can simply wipe out the private health insurance industry without serious, damaging ripples across the economy.

Here’s what I know: We need a more equitable, universal system of health care. Gliding along on the status quo is no longer an option.

Here’s what else I know: Waving a wand or shouting “Shazzam!” isn’t going to make it happen.

Which is to say, I don’t believes in Medicare-for-All, but, then again, I don’t disbelieves in it, neither.



3 thoughts on “CSotD: I don’t disbelieves in them, neither

  1. Although I do own a small insurance agency, I’ve never done much health insurance. It’s always been a pain in the b**t, for different reasons. That said, the number of people unaware of the total cost for health ins. continues to surprise. They were focused on the perhaps $300/ month they paid but not the other $1000 their employer paid for them. Then the Cobra option would come up when they lost their job and the astonishment at the total cost sets in. Right when they have no job. So perhaps with no job and little money Obamacare tax credits are available but, the pandemic exposes the weakness of job- connected health insurance. It’s my hope that we come out of this pandemic with broader support for getting more people covered but think that Medicare for all is a huge political fight. I thought of Obamacare as an incremental move in the right direction. Perhaps we can move further aling

  2. What really hurts Reade’s allegation is that she told a completely different story a year ago. And THREE different stories about why she left the Biden campaign.

    You can’t “believe the woman” if you know for a fact that she’s lied, and we do.

  3. Don’t you think at least some of the people who want to retain employer financed health insurance are thinking of the pay increases they gave up over the years in union negotiations in return for higher employer contribution to premiums?

    Perhaps if they were given pay supplements now (not bonuses) – or their employer paid the full Medicare (or whatever) premium – they wouldn’t mind switching? or is my thinking faulty here? Their employers shouldn’t just suddenly be off the hook, should they?

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