Article by Wendy Luxenburg: Today, the left was rocked a bit when one of its own, Senator Al Franken, was accused of forcibly kissing a woman and groping her while she slept. The Senator has admitted to doing this, apologized and has agreed to participate in an ethics investigation. Now, as liberals grapple with their disappointment in “one of the good guys” we also have to be careful to not overcompensate to prove our own righteousness.
While there are obvious comparisons between Franken’s behavior and that of Louis C.K. or Harvey Weinstein (abuse of power, sexual assault), there are also vast differences in that it appears that what Franken did was part of a (ridiculously stupid, completely unacceptable) comedic stunt that was done publicly versus a pattern of systemic harassment and assault. What is most important for us to find out is, did Franken have a history of this behavior and did it continue into his tenure as an elected official? Any comparisons between Franken’s behavior and that of Judge Roy Moore (candidate for Alabama Senator) would be a false equivalency. Stalking and preying upon underage females is in a different category. In addition, Moore’s entire history is one of defiance of laws designed to protect the most vulnerable, while Franken has built his political career on fighting people like Moore.
However, if in the course of this ethics investigation, we find credible evidence that Franken’s behavior prior to taking office was more egregious (like Louis C.K.) and not done “just for laughs” or that it continued after he took office, liberals must be the first to call for his resignation. Though, I believe, that if the investigation were to lead to such revelations, Franken would resign before we are forced to do so.
Even if this proves to be a “one-off” for Franken, it is a strong example of the behaviors that men, especially those in entertainment, engaged in for years and which women were supposed to not just tolerate, but accept and laugh off. That time over and all men should consider themselves on notice: you will be held accountable for your behavior then and now.
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