April 12, 2019

This week on To The Contrary with Bonnie Erbe, our panelists discuss digital privacy, Joe Biden’s poll numbers, and a new report that takes issue with what it terms “marriage fundamentalism.”

On the panel this week joining host Bonnie Erbe is: Sabrina Schaeffer, Consulting Director, White House Writers Group; Frmr. Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD); Patrice Lee Onwuka, Senior Policy Analyst, Independent Women’s Voices; and Debra Carnahan, Former Judge and Federal Prosecutor.

Click read more to see what they had to say!

Women & Digital Privacy

What it’s like being a woman in the age of social media

  • Patrice Lee Onwuka: ”They’re able to pay the fines, they’re able to make sure that they’re in compliance with what the law became, but it didn’t necessarily increase the amount of trust that people have in online companies anymore or with what they do with their data. And it also locked out a lot of competition and smaller websites from news agencies to shopping sites that people overseas were used to seeing.” (3:50)

  • Donna Edwards: “Look, I come out of the domestic violence and sexual assault community, which in programs across the country have long counselled women on scrubbing their social media identity on protecting voting registration and other aspects of their privacy. Some places that’s written into law, but in a lot of places, it’s very flawed and leaves women very vulnerable. And so I think that we actually do need to set some standards by which people who need protection can get protection.” (4:19)

  • Debra Carnahan: “That’s one of the things that I was going to say. It’s a good start with women in Congress, but we need more women judges, we need to have more women prosecutors, and we also need to have training for our police and law enforcement officials.” (5:11)

  • Sabrina Schaeffer: “I read one story about a woman who was using a ride-sharing app, got into the car and saw her name was displayed and then another passenger was able to find out who she was. So there are instances where we need government and we need industry to be better stewards and to clamp down. And I think it’s also a reminder of what privacy is and we’ve sort of gotten to this Brave New World where we share everything, and we’ve forgotten that sometimes there are things that are good to keep to ourselves.” (5:33)

  • Bonnie Erbe: “The kids - before the brain is fully developed... teenagers, preteens - they do all kinds of stuff. If it’s still online when they’re looking for work or trying to get into college, it is not going to serve them well.” (7:14)

Joe Biden’s Woman Problem

The former VP emerges from controversy with his polling numbers unscathed.

  • Patrice Lee Onwuka: ”Well, unfortunately, this is an unintended consequence of the #MeToo movement. I think it’s been powerful that victims have been able to come forwards, but this is also what has happened where men don’t feel comfortable having younger women around them. And it shouldn’t be the case, but that’s where we’re at. And I will say with Joe Biden, though, I think it’s very interesting that he was such a campus assault - sexual assault - champion, in terms of President Obama’s regulations, and now he wanted to take away due process, take away the assumption of innocence on the part of people who’ve been accused of something but in this situation he wants everybody to be understanding towards him.” (13:30)

  • Debra Carnahan: “Well, full disclosure, I’ve been hugged and kissed a lot by him. And, you know, I was never offended. That doesn’t mean that somebody else might not be that doesn’t have that relationship. I think it is a little bit nitpicky going on. And also, full disclosure, my mother-in-law, who is a senator with Joe Biden actually tweeted out a tweet last week that was picked up by the Washington Post and the New York Times and I was really worried that she was going to get some bad blow-back on that, and it was not. And what she said was, ‘I appreciated it when I went to the Senate at a hard time, losing my husband and my son. He had done the same. And he gave me the human touch and I appreciated that human touch.’” (11:42)

  • Frmr. Rep. Donna Edwards: “I think, ‘got off from what?’ I mean, I do the hair salon test and in my hair salon the women were saying, ‘you know, it doesn’t bother me.’ And these are women who are voters and, look, as somebody who has been pecked on the forehead by Joe Biden, I think that men and women are able to make the distinction between that and the president of the United States grabbing women where he shouldn’t.” (9:47)

  • Sabrina Schaeffer: “This is a moment where we’re all saying, ‘Okay, maybe we’ve taken some of this too far. Let’s not go to extremes.’ But I also suspect that Joe Biden is a really affable guy. Lots of Democrats like him, Republicans like him. Other than some ideas about Amtrak, I think he’s not the worst politician we have out there and I think people want to like him.” (10:56)

  • Bonnie Erbe: “Is it just a matter of age? Can you blame that or is this something he should have known? I mean, obviously it doesn’t amount to sexual assault. It doesn’t amount to any of that stuff. It just amounts to really bad taste and, quite frankly, stupidity on some level.” (10:30)

Marriage Fundamentalism

Is society unfairly biased towards traditional concepts of family?

  • Nicole Rodgers: “The scientific consensus about whether children do best with two married parents is not nearly as strong as people think. We all know intuitively, that the more adults that care about and can support emotionally, financially, every way a child, the better. That's all good for children. But I think actually the idea that it has to be sort of two married parents, you know, in their first marriage in that type of family, I don't actually think that, that that's something we actually know.”

  • Naomi Schaefer: “The upper classes of society have continued to get married and have continued to be able to provide all of the benefits of marriage to their children that stability, that economic level of security. And meanwhile you have the lower half of society has been taught for some reason that marriage is not important. And as a result, they're not getting to reap the same benefits that upper class.”

  • Debra Carnahan:”I think that most of our policies are geared towards married couples. And I think a lot of our laws have been geared towards married couples, and if you look back when birth control was first changed back in 1963 - Griswold vs. Connecticut - it used to be that a woman had to go to her husband to get birth control and get permission. The doctor would go there and say, ‘Can I give your wife birth control?’ Because the government has an interest in couples staying married. So that permeates our entire system.” (22:15)

  • Sabrina Schaeffer: “I mean, I think it’s a little bit of a gray area. Actually, I’ve thought a lot about this issue because certainly I know lots of families who don’t look just like mine and I think that they’re good, loving families. I think that when we think about marriage, I’m more in line with Naomi Schaefer-Riley because I think we look at it from the macro perspective and over a long period of time, we see that this is a successful institution that provides stability and hopefully happiness for a lot of people. That doesn’t mean that it’s the only option out there or the only structure. ” (21:15)

  • Frmr. Rep. Donna Edwards: “Our public policy needs to begin to reflect our reality when it comes to childrearing, caretaking, and caregiving. Our policies are stuck in the 1950s, and 2019 requires something different to reflect the way our families really experience their everyday lives and work lives.” (24:24)