Nearly a month ago, Senator Al Franken apologized for kissing, groping a woman without her consent. Since then, other accusers have come forward with similar allegations.
There have been calls for Franken to resign from the Senate. Countless calls from Democratic voters, as well as calls from the majority of Democrats in the Senate.
On Thursday, December 7th, Senator Franken announced that he will resign.
After weeks of pressure from voters and his colleagues in the Senate, Al Franken took to the Senate floor to announce his resignation.
He will step down in the coming weeks.
Al Franken was quick to highlight that he is not the only politician accused of sexual misconduct.
“I of all people am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office, and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party.”
He could not be more clearly referring to Donald Trump’s infamous “grab ’em by the p–sy” tape.
And, just as clearly, Al Franken condemns alleged child-molester Roy Moore, who is currently campaigning to become one of Alabama’s senators.
Roy Moore is somehow receiving Republican support despite having used his position in the prosecutor’s office as a cover to find and prey upon underage teens.
Senator Franken, who is accused of having used social circumstances to force unwanted kisses upon women, also addressed the allegations against him:
“Some of the allegations against me are simply not true.”
While it’s possible that a political opportunist decided to try their hand at condemning him after others told their true stories, that doesn’t mean that any of these women are necessarily lying.
And if one were, that would in no way mitigate the allegations that others have made.
“Others,” Franken continues. “I remember very differently.”
A lot of famous, powerful men who have been accused of terrible things in recent weeks have stated that they remember things differently.
Pro-tip? Some sexual predators, from harassers to rapists, don’t even realize that they are what they are. Not realizing what they’ve been doing to women for years is not an excuse.
Franken says that he is stepping down for the sake of the people of Minnesota, whom he represents.
“I know in my heart, nothing that I have done as a Senator, nothing, has brought dishonor on this institution, and I am confident that the Ethics Committee would agree.”
Remember that is possible to admire someone’s politics and still dislike them as a person. You might even like someone as a person but loathe some of their political views.
That’s the way that the world works.
“Even on the worst day of my political life, I feel like it has all been worth it.”
That’s good to hear.
“Politics, Paul Wellstone told us, is about the improvement of people’s lives. I know that the work I have been able to do has improved people’s lives. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.”
He’ll get no argument from us. His political positions and battles on behalf of the Americna people were admirable, and may have helped to make the United States a better place.
But there is no way to cancel out personal wrongdoings. Speaking well on the Senate floor and voting well does not negate sexual harassment or assault.
Franken is expected to resign by the end of 2017.
This should give Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton enough time to appoint a replacement to fill Franken’s seat until a special election takes place.
Dayton is a Democrat (and a number of states have traditions and even laws of appointing a member of the outgoing senator’s party), so an upset within the Senate when it comes to voting is not expected.
Some point to this resignation as an example of party hypocrisy, that the GOP is actively supporting and endorsing sexual predators within their own party while the Democratic Party is condemning and removing them from their own.
Added to the situation is that the GOP sometimes likes to brand itself the “party of family values,” a vague line that sometimes takes on sinister meaning and seems totally at odds with an endorsement for Roy Moore or Donald Trump.
But we should all remember that sexual predators exist within all walks of life, and either side of the political aisle.
What defines us is how we, as groups and as a society, deal with them when they are exposed.