“well a lot of people don't look at it like you were sick, hawkeye. a lot of people look up to you here. they admire you and they kinda feel they want to be like you. and...gee, when you walk out on an operation, you make them feel like you've let them down. if they can't depend on you, well, they figure, maybe there's no point in depending on anything.”
~ radar o’reilly
when al franken was doing radio for air america, i thought he’d make a great politician.
when he ran for the senate, i thought he’d be a great senator.
in his eight years in office, franken has championed legislation supporting healthcare, education, and human rights. he has 100% ratings from the planned parenthood action fund and the human rights campaign, along with high marks from the league of conservation voters and the aclu.
he’s been a politician i could point to as an example of an honorable, dedicated public servant, and say “see? this is what’s possible.”
which is why it was so crushing to see franken accused by a fellow USO cast member, leeann tweeden, of forcibly kissing and groping her during a 2006 tour.
that’s sexual assault and yeah, i believe her. one would have to be the worst kind of retrograde partisan not to. you’d have to toss out your intellectual and moral integrity altogther. and you’d have to pretend, impossibly, that you didn’t see the goddam photo.
what franken did was inexplicably, inexcusably stupid.
particularly for a person of demonstrated intelligence and professed liberal values (e.g., respect for others). for a man who has been an earnest advocate of women’s issues prior to and throughout his time in the senate. for a man who likely would have been apoplectic if someone had treated his wife or daughter or colleagues or staffers or constituents with such flippant abuse.
because it’s possible to reconcile two or more contradictory ideas, i can accept that a decent person could commit an indecency AND still be fit to show his face in public~if he owns it, demonstrates genuine remorse, and never again betrays our trust.
i can understand that franken could have done an abhorrent thing before he became a senator AND could still do good things as a senator.
what i can’t reconcile is his continuing to be senator.
al franken should resign.
people of principle can’t (rightly) excoriate roy moore and donald trump while giving al franken a pass.
ethically, morally, politically, there’s no way to straddle that fence, walk that fine line, or thread that needle. not at a time when people who cast themselves as “fine americans” and righteous believers are defending sexual assault and child molestation.
not when ‘deflection, never reflection’ hypocrites will gleefully excuse any past or future transgression in their ranks with: “yeah, but what about al franken?”
not when 51% of our population faces the prospect of a(nother) #metoo event every time they walk out the door.
i’m emailing and @-ing al franken to step down, because we have to be able to depend on our leaders to do the right thing.
or people will start to figure there’s no point depending on anything.