(Thanks for the pic Vice!)
Today, December 7, 2017, Senator Al Franken announced to his peers and to the nation that he will be resigning. There’s a lot of mixed emotions in the right now in regards to this “take down” of the senator. I just want to write out my thoughts on the matter.
On November 16th of this year, a radio anchor accused Franken of forcibly kissing and groping her on a USO tour in 2006. This would be the first of several accusations against Franken in the weeks to come. The senator’s response was a bit of a political communication faux pas as he initially stated he didn’t recall the incident in the manner that the radio anchor displayed, and then he came back with a more thoughtful response but still left sprinkles of denial in his statement.
The right thing to have done, if Franken is truly a “champion for women” as he claims, would have been to step down right when that photo and story were released. Instead the senator chose to stay in senate, and continue to work. Fast forwarding to this week, dozens of Franken’s colleagues publicly urged him to resign, which he eventually gave into with a very “woe is me” goodbye speech.
Here is my issue with what I will now call “The Al Franken Effect” ;
This guy only resigned because all of his colleagues told him to publicly. If the senator was authentically trying to be better and set a standard for elected officials during this sexual misconduct reckoning, Franken would have resigned after the initial accusation. What is daunting about this is the current state of democracy is now in a fragile place. The “boss” of these elected officials are their constituents they are the ones that put these people in office (you know…power of the people).
Therefore either Franken should have stepped down on his own merit, the people who elected him should have been given the opportunity to recall him or take him out of office come election season, or after review the Ethics Committee officially asks for his resignation. I don’t believe it’s a healthy thing for this government if elected officials all call on one another to resign. They have every right to an opinion but they can’t gang up on other elected officials to resign like this, nobody will be left by casting stones.