Something has to change.
We are all tired of hearing story after story of sexual harassment and misconduct. Tired of the pain we know too many have felt. Tired of the cyclical conversations that never seem to move us even an inch forward. Tired of knowing a neighbor, a friend, a sister or daughter that has suffered from these inexcusable acts.
But to see real change, a ball must drop, a line must be drawn, a standard implemented and upheld.
Al Franken is that.
It pains me to see him go. And particularly, as a hill staffer myself, to know what his staff must be going through. Public servants working for whom they thought was an upstanding man committed to crafting policies that have a positive impact on the lives of his constituents. And his constituents, who put their faith in him and must now rebuild their trust in another candidate.
He was a valiant champion of progressive ideals in the Senate. His work meant to do a lot of good.
But, his past cannot be undone. And while I believe people can change for the better, I also believe all women deserve to be represented by someone who respects them to the core.
Opposing Franken’s exit by trumpeting his support for policies that advance a woman’s place in society is the same flawed logic Republicans are using to defend their vote for Roy Moore. We mock those saying they believe Roy Moore’s accusers but are going to vote for him anyway because they need conservatives in the Senate to support Republican ideals, yet use that same flawed reasoning to oppose Franken’s departure.
These conversations should not be about party or policy. They should be about holding men to a higher standard and finally confronting the rape culture we have for so long allowed to exist, largely for the same reasons those defending Franken are using today.
By all logical conclusions, it is simply ridiculous to give Franken a pass just because he has supported policies that benefit women in the long run.
Democrats cannot claim the moral high ground any longer if we continue to allow men like Franken, Conyers, and the like to get away with this behavior, solely because we’re afraid a conservative might take those seats. That’s not how you change the system.
Let this be the precedent. And let those who have done far worse than Franken fall in line behind him and find their exits. We have a legitimately accused child predator about to win an Alabama Senate Seat, and a sexual harasser seated at his seemingly invincible throne in the Oval Office.
There is no time to debate the differences. No time to draw a blurry distinction.
We are on the cusp of achieving the justice, the equality, and the respect women across this world deserve. So don’t feel bad that one man, no matter his politics, was forced to resign. Because there are many, many more to go. And many able, competent and world-changing women ready to take their places.