deviating from the script

today is supposed to be throwback thursday, but due to some recent news, you get a politiblog.

first, i am furious at al franken. second, i am furious that suddenly NOW, finally, people are listening to victims (like, why did it take this long). and third i am furious at myself because i’m struggling with al’s work in the senate being a priority to his actions prior. 

furious at al

in case you haven’t heard, today al franken (mn senator and political superstar for various reasons, which will be touched on below) was accused of sexual misconduct by leeann tweeden. she and al were on a USO tour in 2006 and were rehearsing when he suggested they rehearse a kiss. she said ok despite reservations, and it made her uncomfortable. there is also a photo where he is grabbing at her chest (but not touching) and smiling at the camera. 

i expect some dumb stuff from my jr. senator because of his SNL days. i think it’s to expected that when you have a background that includes a raunchy comedy show in the 80s, there’s going to be some weird stuff and drugs you did. 

but to abuse the consent of a woman to this extent is pretty awful. (YES, i feel like trying to pick up 15-yr-olds in a mall is more awful, but that’s another politiblog). so, i am furious that he did this. 

furious at … now

why has it taken so long in the history of people for men to finally be held accountable for their actions like we have seen in the past couple months? victims of assault and harassment are finally being believed and the perpetrators shunned. there’ve been MILLENNIA of this kind of abuse, and it’s just now that we’re seeing some resemblance of accountability. 

while this is happening on a very visible, celebrity stage, it makes me wonder what will happen at a local, personal level. will victims of domestic abuse see what can happen if they speak up and demand repercussions? will women stop staying with men who call them names and emotionally degrade them? will MEN stop the violence? (ultimately, it’s up to the abusers to stop abuse.)

i’m lucky in that i haven’t been in any sort of abusive relationship, but i’d like to think that if abuse would happen, i would be the sort of person to step away from that, no excuses or second chances. any sort of touching or groping that’s happened to me has been a) invited or b) consent by previous grope. so in my early 20s, this happened quite a bit, both from males and females, because it turned into a running joke. i didn’t see myself as assaulted; it was a joke i was in on AND perpetuated. others from the outside may view this as harassment, but i do not. if i were in my 20s now? i probably would not let this happen. (i know i wouldn’t let it happen as a 38-r-old!)

furious at myself

what i’ve been grappling with are my feelings surrounding all this. i voted for al. i’ve been a huge cheerleader of his in the senate. he champions net neutrality. i’ve watched him grilling people and getting answers. i’ve been proud to call him my senator. (seriously – the only thing i’ve disagreed with him on is his superdelegate vote for hillary, not bernie.)

and when i saw the news today, my gut just dropped. then clenched. i was disgusted by it and irritated and mad. and then i sit here and weigh what he did in 2006 against all the work he’s done in the senate. i feel like he’s a true asset to the senate from what i’ve read, sharp-witted, and dedicated to paul wellstone’s legacy. and i cannot discount that i feel like the work he’s done is bigger than the assault he committed, which is a HORRIBLE thing to think.

my mind keeps skipping back and forth: as a woman i know it’s important to believe victims and hold offenders accountable; as a minnesotan who voted for him, i think he’s done a fantastic job in the senate. are there other minnesotans out there who would do just as great a job? absolutely. but i still cannot discount the work he’s done. 

so i’m mad at myself for not immediately calling for his resignation. i’m very glad he fully supports the ethics committee hearing. i will be very interested to see what that will find. 

and as the next few days progress, i think my anger will diffuse, and the only thing left will be disappointment in al, all for the sake of a few yuks and his wanting to kiss a model*.

*so after i finished my post, i looked up to see what leeann tweeden is known for. she’s currently a radio anchor/personality, but in the past she’s modeled for the covers of playboy, maxim, and FHM. while this does not discount her allegations or excuse al’s behavior, my perspective of her has changed 180ΒΊ because of her involvement in the “women as objects” industry. 

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