About Franken…

On Al Franken
by ‘Persephone Agricola’ on Facebook 11/16/2017

I’m weighing in on Al Franken. And I’m sure it’s not what most of you expect to hear me say about it. Can we stop with the hyperbole already? Can we put down the pitchforks and have a thoughtful conversation? He was pushy about kissing a woman while rehearsing for a skit, and later staged a photo pretending to grab (while not actually touching) her boobs through 6 inches of military gear. Yes it was tasteless, crass, douchey… but can we please stop calling that groping? Because being groped is a hell of a lot different from that. And this pushy kiss was in the context of rehearsing for a skit. For the record, actors DO rehearse kisses. I was shy and inexperienced about it in high school and don’t know how much rehearsal time I wasted refusing to rehearse the kiss for the play I was in, much to my director’s frustration. Because you rehearse EVERYTHING. I don’t doubt that it felt gross, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he had ulterior motives, because he’s a male. But I think we need to put the pitchforks down.

Maybe he really was just being an entitled asshole male and trying to get a kiss out of a woman he thought was hot. We need to be honest about the fact that a lot of otherwise “good” men violate women in this way because it’s what they’re socialized to do. And we need to have conversations about that–much more nuanced and thoughtful conversations–unless you’re a woman going the way of the radicalesbian separatist, in that case godspeed. But can the liberal lynch mobs hold off a sec and allow for such conversation about this without calling for his head on a stake? This is not on par with trapping a teenage girl in a car and ACTUALLY groping and fondling her (Roy Moore). This is not in the same universe as repeatedly raping a 13 year old girl at your pedophile friend’s sex parties (Donald Trump).

Liberal purists have got to back off and allow for the fact that humans are flawed, and even good ones are sometimes assholes. People do things that hurt other people all the time. I have hurt other people. You have. I promise you, you have. We also need to stop with this goldfish memory and remember that social norms are changing fast, and what was acceptable 20 years ago would make most millenials’ heads explode. That doesn’t excuse bad behavior, but does need to be part of the conversation.
Where do we draw the line at what kinds of behaviors are unforgivable? Seriously, I want to know. Because while conservatives rally behind cretins like Moore and Trump, we are about to help them oust a man who has done a lot of good for a lot of people and fights every day to make this country better for all of us–including and specifically women. This is a man who has openly admitted that a lot of what he said and did in the past is now regrettable, that he knows better and is doing better. But because that one time he made a woman feel uncomfortable he should resign or be fired? What would enough remorse look like? What would a good enough apology look like? Do you seriously think this man is unfit to do his job because of this incident in the past? This is what cutting off your nose to spite your face looks like.

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