Senator Al Franken’s resignation speech was a good one because it guaranteed that the long-overdue discussion about sexual harassment/assault in the workplace will continue. However, Senator Franken made a mistake taking shots at President Trump and U.S. Senate candidate, Roy Moore, in Alabama. Or did he?
Senator Franken’s situation is different than that of the guy who bragged about having committed sexual assault (sexual battery in the case of grabbing a woman’s private part without her consent, although the issue of consent could be a bone of contention). While then-citizen Trump’s behavior was outrageous and potentially criminal, The FOLKS elected Donald Trump the 45th president of the United States of America with full knowledge of the allegations against him. It is difficult to determine whether a criminal case will develop against Mr. Trump. Such a case might surface as the result of, or separately from, a civil action against him such as defamation (regarding POTUS calling his accusers liars) or negligent or intentional infliction of emotional distress. If one or more actions are filed, Mr. Trump will then have been “Frankenized,” i.e., he will have been placed in the predicament in which Al Franken has found himself: should he be a distraction, or should he do what is best for his state (in President Trump’s situation, for his country) and step aside? Should President Trump have to deal with civil or criminal actions against him while sitting as POTUS? Sure he should. His status as president should not supersede due process for the women who have made serious allegations (civil or criminal) against him. If President Trump finds himself having to personally deal with civil and/or criminal allegations associated with his prurient past, would he follow in Senator Franken’s resignation footsteps?
Senator Franken’s situation is different than that of the guy in Alabama who is alleged to have sexually molested teen-age girls decades ago. If The FOLKS elect former Alabama Supreme Court Justice, Roy Moore, they will have done so with full knownledge about the allegations against him, and, since Mr. Moore’s alleged bad behavior is likely outside of any statute of limitations (civil and criminal), he will/should not be a distraction in the Senate, because he will argue that the voters passed judgment upon him. Consequently, if Mr. Moore wins, the Senate Ethics Committee will hopefully recognize it has no business messing with The FOLKS in Alabama.
Does Senator Franken recognize the differences between his situation and those of President Trump and Mr. Moore? If he does, it was not obvious by way of his attack on the president and the candidate, respectively, during his resignation speech on the Senate floor. However, might Senator Franken have recognized these differences and might he be clever in having delayed his official resignation until “in the coming weeks”, i.e., until after the voters decide whether to send an alleged child molester, Republican nominee Roy Moore, or a former prosecutor, Democratic nominee Doug Jones, to Washington, D.C.? Assuming Mr. Moore prevails, is Senator Franken wagering that the Senate Ethics Committee will take no action against Mr. Moore because the allegations against Mr. Moore arose prior to his arrival in the Senate. If this happens, will it give Senator Franken the precedent he needs to justify reversing his decision to resign? Might Senator Franken be doubly clever in that, regardless of whether Mr. Moore arrives in the Senate, Mr. Franken will demand that the Senate Ethics Committee begin (or complete) its investigation of his (Mr. Franken’s) situation as a condition of his resignation taking effect—especially since Senator Franken expects the Ethics Committee to find that he has been a good boy during his time in the Senate (as Mr. Franken insisted during his speech on the Senate floor)?
If the Senate Ethics Committee finds “no bad behavior during Senator Franken’s time in the Senate”, will Mr. Franken decide to pull a “Marco Rubio” and remain in the Senate, or will he pull a “Jason Chaffetz” (the Congressman who resigned from the U.S. House of Representatives to become a Fox News contributor) and establish “Frankentime!” on MSNBC, CNN, or some other media outlet? No matter which road Senator or ordinary-citizen Al Franken decides to travel, he will most likely be part of the intense discussion about sexual harassment/assault/battery in the workplace—a discussion that must continue in the days, weeks, months, and year(s) ahead, and that is a good thing . . . a very good thing.
P.S. In case you didn’t know it, Al Franken is No. 11 and DonaldTrump is No. 31 in FOLKS UPSET BY THE CAPITAL KARMA: A Shock and Awe Campaign for Political Reform. In FOLKS, the co-authors attempted to launch a discussion about the out-of-control federal debt and defeating two-party politics. It was, literally, years ahead of its time. The discussion, with a few more hot-button issues added, continues here and on Twitter (@politicalfolks).