Musings from outside the mainstream.
My first reaction was not one of surprise. Al Franken is a comedian. Comedians test limits, they go too far. But their satire and humor are invaluable to democracy. They call to account the powerful and the hypocrites. Their speech is sometimes the most valuable speech we have and, when limited, is often the canary in the coalmine signaling the rise of autocratic regimes.
So when a photo circulated of Al Franken mimicking groping Leeann Tweeden who is asleep while they were on a USO tour, I could forgive him. Plus, as one of my army buddies said, “It’s impossible to grope someone wearing a flack jacket.”
Still an image has power. She was vulnerable. She was asleep. One can argue it’s something we shouldn’t joke about. But I could forgive him.
Comedians are always looking for a joke, a way to make people laugh. As a former class clown I know how hard it is to turn that impulse off. For pranksters there’s seldom no real ill will, just a narcissistic need to be the center of attention and go for the laugh.
However, with additional accusations and Franken backpedaling, it appears some of them might be true: he copped a feel more than once. And then I was disappointed.
I’m disappointed because we can’t know the truth. So much of this is still so unsubstantiated. Nobody really wins. We’re all losing right now. I’m disappointed that still more women have felt violated. And I’m disappointed that all men are again painted with the same broad brush.
So now I’m worried.
A trial by public opinion is no different than a witch trial. A trail without evidence and equal witness is not democratic. While I have no problem with guilty powerful men being taken down, process matters. And then there’s the fact that Franken is on the way out while Roy Moore appears on the way in.
With the state of “affairs” today, where we have an unabashed pussy grabbing seated president and bible thumping serial teen dater as a legitimate candidate, I have no problem with Al Franken’s unapologetic resignation. But I’m going to take it one step further.
I don’t think he should resign until the president does. And if Alabama elects Roy Moore, then Franken should stay. Franken should stay, until all the pigs are out. Or even better, Franken should change his affiliation to the Republican party, as Trevor Noah suggests.
Don’t disappoint me again, Al. If you go out, go out big. Be the agitator you are. Our political system is a already a mockery. Please, take it down when you go.