Emma Richardson is the opinion editor of the Arkansas Traveler. Emma worked as an opinion writer from 2018-2019.

There is nothing like a firm handshake to make a personal connection, and politicians know this better than anyone. Unfortunately, in many cases, handshakes do not seem to be where the physical contact stops. Many individuals in the political sphere have been embedded in a slew of accusations of sexual harassment and assault. 

Unfortunately, amid the allegations, any discussion of actual politics is entirely eclipsed. This can not continue. One solution is to only allow a candidate to run if he or she does not have any history of harassment allegations. The emergence of these allegations would result in immediate disqualification. However, if this were the case, there would be virtually no candidates left, and creating an entirely new ballot would be far too much work. However, there is a much more practical solution at hand. 

Politicians must simply not touch another person while they are in office. This might seem impossible or unfeasible, but with some ingenuity, the solution clearly comes to light. All politicians must wear oven mitts from the time they begin campaigning to the conclusion of their time in office. This will prevent any inappropriate touching, as well as sparing the politicians the strain of thinking too hard about whether their actions are acceptable.

Oven Mitt Cartoon

This will be particularly useful for presidential candidate Joe Biden, who seems to have some trouble gauging personal boundaries. Writer D.J. Hill alleged that he put his hand on her shoulder and moved it down her back at a fundraising event. This, and similar actions, have landed him in hot water, which could have easily been avoided with the judicious use of oven mitts. In his response to the allegations of Hill and other women, Biden sagely remarked that, “social norms are changing.” This is true.

Previously, women were not believed to have relevant opinions regarding who was allowed to touch their bodies. Recent findings suggest that they actually do. Times have indeed changed. Perhaps it is unfair to expect politicians to grasp the colossal shift of women having personal boundaries. 

Oven mitts will be the greatest revolution to modern politics since the advent of the power suit. While this solution might seem a bit extreme, it is the only one that will work. Clearly, politicians can not be monitored all day, every day, but anyone can wear oven mitts. Not only will oven mitts provide a buffer between the politician and any individual they may touch, the mitts provide a higher degree of visibility, so any attempts at inappropriate contact are immediately noticeable. 

Some might argue that it is not necessary for the mitts to remain on at all times, but this is quite shortsighted. By taking the mitts off, even for a moment, politicians leave themselves liable to committing inappropriate behavior. Removing the mitts is simply asking for an accusation of harassment. The only way to ensure a clean race is for all politicians to wear oven mitts at all times. 

It is apparent that we can not expect those vying for leadership in our country to act with decorum. Neither do they seem to be able to adapt to the humanity of the women around them. Therefore, to allow the focus in the political arena to remain on politics, the time has come to adopt drastic measures. Along with shoulder pads and artificially whitened teeth, oven mitts are the new essential ingredient to a successful campaign.

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