Dear Joe Biden,
I’ve been in your camp for a long time. I think you’re our best hope of putting a good moderate in the White House. But you’ve been wounded by two credible allegations by women who felt your personal style made them uncomfortable. When there are multiple women speaking up, you have to recognize they have a point.
You’re now facing a difficult choice between two bad options: proceed and gently blow them off, or give up. I’d like to suggest you have a third choice.
You could step up and become a leader on this issue. You’re going to have to have a sincere conversion worthy of St. Paul. Recognize that every person has individual ideas of their personal space, and while many welcome affection, many do not. In the #metoo era, it’s no longer appropriate to follow your instincts and hug them. You have to ask and wait for them to say “yes”.
Your path must include demonstration of your leadership on this issue. Start a movement about personal space. There should be clear rules, like ‘before hugging someone, ask “May I hug you?”, and wait for “yes”.’ And, since listening to diverse voices is so important, you could hold forums when people can speak up, suggest ground rules for the movement. They could even be features of your campaign stops. By listening and distilling feedback into a clear, concise set of rules that would fit on a wallet card or T shirt, you could show leadership and provide clarity to all the huggers and bussers in these new uncertain times.
Please, Mr. Vice President, this is a time to take these lemons and make lemonade.