Washington Post Columnist: Al Franken Shouldn’t Resign, and Here’s Why

Pragmatism is needed more than ever in the era of the Trump-thing

Kate Harding has a column in the Washington Post today that’s being roundly attacked by the right wing media, because it makes some points that need to be made about Al Franken’s terrible behavior, and what it would mean for the United States if he resigns: I’m a feminist. I study rape culture. And I don’t want Al Franken to resign.

I am a Democrat because I am a feminist who lives under a two-party system, where one party consistently votes against the interests of women while the other sometimes does not. I am not a true believer in the party itself nor in any politician. I am a realist who recognizes that we get two viable choices, and Democrats are members of the only party positioned to pump the brakes on Republicans’ gleeful race toward Atwoodian dystopia. Meanwhile, I recognize that men’s harassment of and violence against women is a systemic issue, not a Democrat or Republican problem, a Hollywood problem, a sports problem, or a media problem. Its roots lie in a patriarchal culture that trains men to believe they are entitled to control women’s bodies —for sex, for sport, for childbearing, for comedy.

When you combine these things — an awareness that the Democratic Party is no more or less than best of two, and an understanding that men in power frequently exploit women — it becomes difficult to believe that Franken is the only sitting Democrat with a history of harassment, abuse or assault. The recent #metoo campaign demonstrated how normalized unwanted kissing and groping are in our culture. Donald Trump was caught on tape crudely admitting to both of those transgressions, and we made him our president. According to the CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 1 in 3 women experiences some sort of contact sexual violence in her life. Sexual harassment and assault are simply too widespread for Democrats to respond to Franken’s offense with only Franken in mind: We need to respond in a way that helps us develop a protocol for meaningful change.

Read the whole thing; I should say I agree with Harding, and note that she’s not saying he should suffer no consequences.

I’m as unhappy about the allegations against Al Franken as anyone, but forcing him to resign would be incredibly damaging to resistance against the Trump administration’s horribly misogynist agenda, and ultimately self-defeating.

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