Other stories filed under Editorial
Franken, Moore could not be handling harassment claims worse
November 27, 2017
Politicians haven’t always been the cleanest, fairest or most charming individuals. Many have been involved with crippling corruptions cases or embarrassing bombshell scandals. John F. Kennedy had Secret Service agents aid him in escorting prositutes onto Capitol grounds. Richard Nixon was the perpetrator behind the infamous Watergate scandal. Anthony Weiner, a former U.S. Congressman, had to register as a sex offender after sending explicit text messages to women, some as young as 15 years old.
Of course, there’s those who are clean, those who haven’t had one dirty spot on their record. Most politicians fit this description. They have families, children, and don’t want to participate in any activity that jeopardize their career.
But for those that are caught up in such scandals, most recently Alabama’s Republican nominee for Senate’s Special Election Roy Moore and Minnesota’s own Democratic senator Al Franken, there has been quite the lack of sympathy for their actions. Moore is accused of sexual harrasment by nine women, a number large enough to ponder whether innocence is possible for Moore. He’s flat out denied all claims, saying they are “completely false, false and misleading.”
Moore’s campaign has taken an even deeper stance in support of Moore, turning the allegations into a liberal vs. conservative conspiracy.
But perhaps the most shocking action by Moore and his team is the lack of even the slightest bit of regard for the allegedly abused women. There hasn’t been an apology, or a “I apogize for any harm I may have caused, but these allegations are false.” It’s been absolute denial.
That may be because their isn’t concrete proof of wrongdoing. Though nine different women’s claims are hard to deny, proof doesn’t exist.
That’s not the case with Senator Franken, who hasn’t only been accused by four different women of misconduct, but also has a photograph of his wrongdoing pinned against him. The image, released by Leeann Tweeden, shows Franken grabbing the breasts of Tweeden while she’s asleep. There’s no way to defend that.
Yet still Franken has taken somewhat of a defensive stance. Tweeden also claimed Franken forcibly kissed her during a rehearsal skit at USO tour in 2006. In response to Tweeden’s claim, the Senator said “I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann.” That’s certainly better than Moore’s denial, but still. There’s a photo of the wrong doing. It’s hard to believe one incident didn’t happen without the other.
As the story got bigger, more women came out against Franken, one accusing him of inappropriate touching while taking a photo at the State Fair. Regarding this incident, the Senator half-heartedly said “I take thousands of photos at the state fair surrounded by hundreds of people, and I certainly don’t remember taking this picture. I feel badly that Ms. Menz [one of Franken’s accusers] came away from our interaction feeling disrespected.Once again, the “I don’t remember” phrase is used with an apology for something that may or may not have happened.
Finally, on November 23rd, after two more women accused Franken of inappropriate touching, Franken released a 3rd statement, this one the best of the three.
“I’ve met tens of thousands of people and taken thousands of photographs, often in crowded and chaotic situations. I’m a warm person; I hug people. I’ve learned from recent stories that in some of those encounters, I crossed a line for some women — and I know that any number is too many,” Senator Franken said.
There’s the first sign of admittance to possible wrong-doing. About time, Mr. Franken!
For Franken supporters everywhere, these allegations are a massive letdown. Due to his policies, his personality, and the opportunities he gives to young people looking to make it in politics, Franken was a power-holder in the Democratic party. He was one of the most prominent liberals. These allegations fracture that bond he shared with people.
Politicians mishandling events isn’t a new occurrence either. Franken’s phrasing in his statements have been pretty progressive towards flat-out owning-up, which would look much better if he made it right away.
And even though the allegations against Franken are horrendous, he’s still somehow managed to handle it better than Roy Moore, who’s swirling in his own hypocrisy.
All of this comes down to one thing: If politicians are going to lay their hands where they shouldn’t, their actions will be made public. With 2017 turning into the year of people taking a stand for themselves, victims won’t hide anymore. And for politicians? They can’t anymore.