A Women’s Advocate Says it: ‘I Support Al Franken’
As I argued yesterday this is a time for Democrats to be very wary. The GOP is desperate to divert from Roy Moore. They are opposed in principle to the #MeToo movement but are happy to co-opt it if they can con Dems and liberals to engage in a circular firing squad.
I also do agree with those like Brian Beutler that argue there are structural problems with #MeToo in that we believe in innocent until proven guilty and #MeToo almost flips that around and says You’re innocent until prove guilty unless you’re accused of sexual misconduct.
Now let’s be clear: I fully share the principle behind #MeToo that seeks to end the long social and cultural prejudice against victims of sexual assault particularly if they’re female.
The trouble is though that if we simply have to believe women in every single case then if you do get a dishonest individual paid by the Right wing-as the Clinton accusers were then it’s child’s play for the Right to put out false, slanderous accusations even in some unreliable Alt Right outlet and the logic of #BelieveWomen means we have to assume it’s true by definition and drum out the liberal or Democrat in question now and not ask questions later.
Regarding Al Franken, here is a very interesting piece in DailyKos by a women’s rights advocate:
“As a women’s advocate, and as a human being, I know of no other man that exceeds Franken’s commitment to ending rape culture, sexism and inequality. The very first bill he worked on when he arrived in DC was a bill to preclude enforcement of employment binding arbitration clauses in cases of sexual abuse. And since then — 2009 — Franken has continued to be a woke women’s champion.”
“Precisely because he is so woke when it comes to women’s issues, I believe Franken felt entirely obligated to validate Leeann’s allegations rather than deny them outright. Franken knows that the greater good is accomplished by validating Leeann, even if he knows for an absolute certainty that the kiss did not happen the way she described it. Women’s rights activists have fought way to hard to establish the absolutely necessary default: “We believe women.” Franken knows how hard it has been to win that fight, knows we aren’t there yet, knows the fight is more important that he is, and… is willing to die on that hill, even though he knows he is being smeared by a right-wing attack machine, at least so far as the kiss is concerned.”
Yes it’s pretty clear what’s happening here. This was a promotional tour in front of the troops that Franken, Leeann, and other comedians were on. She wasn’t asleep-it was a skit.
“The pictures of Leeann grabbing an ass or acting in a sexually provocative manner are utterly irrelevant. Women are allowed to choose whether or not they want to pose in a picture or kiss a man. That choice cannot be made by Al Franken or anyone else. (And the guitarist should also get to choose whether or not he wants his ass grabbed. But whether or not Leeann was inappropriate is for the guitarist to decide and an entirely separate issue from whether or not Franken is guilty of unwanted touching, sexual assault, or just plain ol’ grossness).”
I don’t think they’re relevant because they somehow impugn her integrity or make her ‘one of those women’ or anything like that. But I DO think they provide context to the trip: this was a comedic promotional tour where there was a lot of ‘bawdy humor.’
“The photograph… A few things here. I’m in my late forties. I remember seeing a program called Benny Hill as a kid. It was sketch comedy that featured a leering old man chasing around young pretty women. (Yes, that sort of thing was considered hilarious in the ‘70s). Franken is about two decades older than I am. Humor was different in his generation than it is today (although maybe not… Isn’t Howard Stern still pulling excellent ratings?) Anyway… That groping picture would be utterly un-mitigatable evidence of guilt if it actually showed him groping her while she was sleeping. But… First of all, it isn’t clear he’s making any kind of contact at all. But even more importantly… SHE’S WEARING A GODDAM KEVLAR VEST! You literally cannot grop anything beneath a Kevlar vest; it’s fucking bulletproof, let alone finger-proof! Franken was play-acting in front of a bunch of military men that absolutely knew how silly his idea was. Yeah, the military is full of testosterone driven young men that don’t need any contributions to their already toxic-masculine culture, especially as more and more women enter fields traditionally occupied by men. But have you seen a USO show? Even Bob Hope’s comedy act was largely driven by sexual innuendo. Add everything together, and what I come up with is that Franken posed for a picture he should not have, even if Leeann was cooperative. It objectifies women and we all should want to get past that.”
I’m not entirely sure of the last two sentences: does this also apply to Leann grabbing the guitar player’s butt? If not then why is there a different standard to what a woman can do with a man in a picture from what a man can do with a woman?
But I digress. Let’s not quibble:
Overall the important point is that Franken is being slandered as she says.
“When you consider that Roger Stone was tipped to this, I simply do not believe Leeann. I know all of us that consider ourselves good progressives must “believe women”, but that, to me, is a default position. We can’t let our principals be the death of us, or allow them to sacrifice true champions like Al Franken on an alter of formality. The right-wing, whether it’s James O’Keefe and Acorn, or Breitbart and Shirley Sherrod, or George Vets… Well, they just aren’t honest people. Not even close. They will destroy people’s lives without any remorse. And the more we let them do it, the more they will be encouraged, and the more good people they will destroy.”
“We need to take a stand. We need to draw a line. We simply aren’t going to let them do this to one of the most fundamentally decent people in the Senate. I support Al.”
I appreciate what she says: #BelieveWomen is good as a default position.
Democrats and liberals must be careful not to be hoisted on our own petards here:
“…the ratfucking Republican operatives try to weaponize the MeToo movement and use liberals’ decency against us…”
Exactly. Be awake. This is going to be a recurring issue in the coming days. The GOP figured out going back to Bill Clinton that there was a structural opportunity for them in #BelieveWomen. Because if liberals have to believe women then even a woman telling a false story in a Right wing publication has to be believed.
The charges are so serious that you have to simply presume them guilty. And liberals have fallen for this again and again.
What this does is slander decent people in the Democratic party while Clarence Thomas, Roy Moore, Donald Trump, and David Vitter go forward with their power in tact.
Even now we hear that Democrats somehow have to ‘reckon with Bill Clinton’; notice how nobody says the GOP has to reckon with George Herbert Walker Bush who we now know was s serial assaulter.
Now is the time to smarten up.
As for Roger Stone:
Senate Ethics Committee should investigate why Roger Stone had advance info. Might interest Mueller as well. https://t.co/T8kzRnsRoD
— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) November 19, 2017
P.S. I’m Mike Sax, I’m running for Congress in the NY 2nd District and I’m a Hillary Clinton Democrat.
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