There are so many ways that Al could have handled this successfully, and I’m sure that many of his supporters are also aware of them and remain dumbfounded that Al did not.
Al has spent the overwhelming majority of his adulthood as a professional comic. Overall, he hasn’t denied most of the claims against him and, in some cases admits to them. That is the overwhelming difference between him and people, like Trump and Moore, who claim their innocence.
To be clear: Nothing Franken is being accused of comes anywhere close to what Louis C.K. has admitted to. One woman is upset that Al attempted to give her a kiss – a mere kiss attempt – after doing a radio show*.
Holy fucking crap! She’s scarred ten plus years later over an attempted kiss?
Do we really want to usher in such a cold and repressed era as that?
*Al denies this one.
Worse, not only does Franken not deny culpability in may of these accusations, but he’s having difficulty apologizing.
You can never say “I’m sorry,” for something you don’t remember, because it can never be sincere.
I have no recollection of that but I’m sorry I did it?
It’s not enough to apologize, you have to acknowledge the hurt you caused someone. And you have to know the difference between someone you genuinely hurt and someone who is pretending to be hurt (and there are plenty of those types as well).
If you apologize to both equally then you might as well go around saying you love and trust everyone.
Nobody loves and trusts everyone and saying that minimizes the value of your love and trust for those people in your life who have earned it.
Al Franken is a writer! He should have succinctly drawn upon his decades of plying his trade as a professional comic and simply said,
‘I spent my life trying to make people laugh. During that time I tried everything I thought might work, almost all of it unscripted, spur of the moment. As with all people in my line of work, there were times when I made everyone happy and those moments where the joke fell flat and I humiliated myself. Comics live and die on the public stage of audience judgement, whether that audience is three people or millions, and I’ve lived through both and everything in between.
Not a single one of my constituents were unaware of my past life. It likely helped. Further, I feel my re-election is proof that the voters recognize how seriously I’ve embraced my new role as their representative.
Did I represent my people as the class clown of the Senate? Probably. There are more than a few clowns in the Senate, but at least I’m a professional. However, I never mocked my supporters, their lives, and their concerns.
Still, no one stops being who they are when they take this or any job.
As a comic, and exempting hecklers – who have it coming – I’ve always sought to make myself the butt of every joke. If I ever hurt anyone with a joke, that failure was entirely my own and never reflected on you.’
I think that’s all anyone needed to hear. All of the women who feel they were hurt, just need to know that Al Franken wasn’t intentionally demeaning them. He meant no harm. He’s an entertainer, a prankster, and a joker, but he isn’t the mean kid in high school who humiliates you in front of everyone.
When this story broke, Al first issued a purely defensive non-apology apology, before issuing a sincere one. The woman of the now infamous photograph accepted. I’m not mentioning her name because she’s been on the ugly receiving end of callous conspiracy rumor mongering blow back that she doesn’t deserve. Al has already owned up to it. That’s it.
Unfortunately we live in an ignorant era of oppressive/repressive scolds where anyone’s dismissive hair-brained feelings overcome reason; instant finger-snap morality equals rational intellect, outright lies are left unexamined because feelings, and this ideal has largely found its home among liberals. Many top stand up comics are refusing work for no other reason but that their humor will now be scrutinized under the harshest light, for the sole purpose of destroying the one who said it.
This is the house where Al Franken lives. Because he lives there, he’s adopted their standards – whether he agrees with them or not. Because he adopted their standards, he shied from being himself and chose to throw himself upon their mercy and forgiveness. These standards of intolerance have neither.
He is white, he is old, he is a man.
Because of this, he’s painted his fellow Democrats – who are fully cognizant that he’s no harassing Bill Clinton – into a corner they cannot escape unscathed. They live in the same house. In this case it’s not about betrayal for the sake of naked political ambition, it’s about check and balance scales of power already corroding the weight on the Democratic Party side.
There are many who don’t want Senator Al Franken to go, but they can’t reconcile their acceptance of him without damaging the ever growing zero intolerance commandments they nurture.
Where even so much as an unwanted kiss is a crime.