It’s time for an admission.
I am admitting that it is easy for me to criticize politicians I dislike, or even detest and that it’s harder to go negative against those I respect.
Thus, I am having a conflict of sorts as I watch this story about Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken play out. Franken has apologized for groping a woman in 2006 while the two of them were on a USO tour; it was before Franken became a member of the Senate. He was a mere comedian at the time of the incident.
The woman, TV news anchor Leann Tweeden, produced a picture of him groping her while she apparently was asleep. She didn’t consent to the groping or to the kiss that Franken reportedly laid on her. Tweeden has accepted Franken’s apology to her.
What gives me grief is that I grew to respect Franken’s performance as a senator. I agree with his politics and thought he had a bright future in politics.
I am now left to use past-tense verbs when talking about Franken. I no longer respect him or admire him. I don’t know how much of a future he now has in politics. Yes, it pains me to say all this.
Unlike the scandal that’s swallowing up Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for the Senate from Alabama, this Franken story is giving me grief. I find myself writing critically of him while my teeth are clenched. I have no such difficulty while criticizing the likes of Donald J. Trump, or Roy Moore, or Newt Gingrich (when he was fooling around on his then-wife in the 1990s).
This time, I suppose that because the latest bomb to detonate involves a politician I formerly admired, that I should really drop the hammer on him … rhetorically, of course.
I am more than merely disappointed in Al Franken. I am outraged that he would betray those of us who once thought so highly of him.