Archive - 2017

November 16th

Netiher Good Enough Nor Smart Enough

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Memo to Al Franken: SIGH.

Gotta do this. Don’t wanna do this, but I gotta. Come on, man.

Newscaster Leeann Tweeden yesterday accused my senator, Al Franken, of being a dick towards her on a USO tour in 2006, including writing a sketch where they kissed, insisting they rehearse it, forcing her to rehearse it, mocking her for the rest of the trip for her resistance, and taking a picture of her while she slept that makes it look like he’s grabbing her breasts.

Her story is credible, and Franken’s response, where he admits the picture was a mistake and only says he remembers the rehearsals differently, confirms to me that it happened. He’s called for an ethics investigation into himself, which I fully support. Depending on how those things go and who his primary opponent is, I may well vote against him in his next primary. And he should probably step down as an example of what you’re supposed to do when you get caught doing shit like this.

That’s the ideal. That’s the ethical thing, the moral thing, the honorable thing, and the right thing. But I can’t help but wonder if it’s the best thing.

If this had come out two years ago, even, there wouldn’t have been any question. But now? I’m less sure. Is it possible to restore norms to a system that ignores norms just by establishing and following norms? Can doing the honorable thing create honor in a world that doesn’t respect or care about it?

Because you fucking well know Franken’s not the only one there guilty of shit like this. They just had hearings where lawmakers said they knew shit even worse than this was going on. And you know some of them are Republicans. And, of course, there’s the Pussygrabber and the Malltrawler.

As much as I want “my side”, such as it is, to do the right thing and be accountable for its failings, I don’t want “my side” to be the ones graciously stepping down right away while the other side fights tooth and nail to cling to power no matter what. There’s a chance, sure, that the voting population will see that behavior and draw the correct conclusions and react accordingly, 2016 showed us that’s not the voting population’s strong suit.

I hate that the tactical and political equation is at odds with the ethical one. But they’ve never been more at odds in recent history. The right WILL weaponize this shit, and not out of a sudden outpouring of concern for the victims of sexual assault. So I honestly don’t know which imperative should win out here under current conditions. Not because Franken’s worth saving here, but because there’s no mechanism in place to ensure that any standard applied to Franken will be applied to all the other members of Congress, including potential Senator-Elect Nine Victims And Counting.

But I’m also aware that my thoughts on this might be bent by my own privilege, which is why I’m going out of my way to raise the question, because I don’t really trust myself to answer it.