Al Franken Says He Should’ve Never Resigned, and the #MeToo Whirlwind Gets a Bit of Honest Reflection
#MeToo was an odd thing. It wasn’t so much a revolution as a frenzy. It was lathered onto the front page in a way that was overwhelming. It was the New Kids on the Block. For a moment in time, everyone was wearing the pins and watching the shows and going to the events and emoting all over themselves. It swept the nation, just like “You Got It (The Right Stuff).” For an ideologically-oriented movement, that’s the kiss of death. Because that level of mania can’t be sustained.
Therefore, this is how it seemed to me when it was at its peak: We’re in the throes of a heightened level; anything anyone does or is revealed to have done during this window of time is going to get ruined. Then the news cycle’s going to reset, and everyone thereafter will continue to get away with similar misdeeds because people are sick of hearing about it.
Now here we are, largely on the other side. And one man swept by the broom of yesterday’s headlines is now regretting his surrender to its custodial cleanup.
After resigning from his senate seat in 2017 amid allegations of forcibly kissing talk-show host Leeann Tweeden and the damnation of a 2006 pre-Congress photo of him mockingly groping her as she slept, left-winger Al Franken wishes he’d stayed and fought.
A Monday piece in The New Yorker profiled the disgraced politician’s plight.
Al told the outlet due process is a thing:
“The idea that anybody who accuses someone of something is always right ― that’s not the case. That isn’t reality.”
The former SNL writer wishes he’d gone before the Senate Ethics Committee rather than stepping down.
And he’s not the only one with regret. Jane Mayer reported:
A remarkable number of Franken’s Senate colleagues have regrets about their own roles in his fall. Seven current and former U.S. senators who demanded Franken’s resignation in 2017 told me that they’d been wrong to do so. Such admissions are unusual in an institution whose members rarely concede mistakes.
Indeed — Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy saidpressuring Al to quit is “one of the biggest mistakes [he has] made” in his 45 years in Congress.
Former North Dakota Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp’s bummed, too:
“If there’s one decision I’ve made that I would take back, it’s the decision to call for his resignation. It was made in the heat of the moment, without concern for exactly what this was.”
More from TNY:
Tammy Duckworth, the junior Democratic senator from Illinois, told me that the Senate Ethics Committee “should have been allowed to move forward.” She said it was important to acknowledge the trauma that Franken’s accusers had gone through, but added, “We needed more facts. That due process didn’t happen is not good for our democracy.
Maine Independent Sen. Angus King compared Franken’s takedown to an execution:
“There’s no excuse for sexual assault. But Al deserved more of a process. I don’t denigrate the allegations, but this was the political equivalent of capital punishment.”
Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley admitted he acted without even examining the situation:
“This was a rush to judgment that didn’t allow any of us to fully explore what this was about. I took the judgment of my peers rather than independently examining the circumstances. In my heart, I’ve not felt right about it.”
How do we end up with such rash people in a position to make our laws??
Jane asked Al a direct question and got an unmistakable answer:
When I asked him if he truly regretted his decision to resign, he said, “Oh, yeah. Absolutely.”
So now the pendulum’s swung back toward the concepts of evidence and proof. Seems reasonable.
Someone may want to notify Alyssa Milano — she was at the front with a torch, and for all we know, she could still be there. Did her hysterics stun you? #MeToo:
Somebody might wanna check on her; she may still be Hangin’ Tough.
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