I love comics, heroes and the colorful movies and shows they inspire. I once wondered how much anxiety a person would have living in a place like Gotham or Metropolis, where clowns, corrupt politicians and corporate bad guys seem to rip the city apart daily. Nowadays, as a self-proclaimed blue-blooded-bleeding-heart-liberal-democrat-snowflake (uffdah!), I’ve grown accustomed to a similar feeling, because the America I know is being destroyed by — you guessed it — clowns, corrupt politicians and corporate bad guys.
A world like that needs heroes; as bad as it got, I felt like I had the League on my side. Our own Senator Heidi Heitkamp and other inspiring members of Congress and government fight every day for what I and other Democrats believe is right — or rather, left.
I watched these heroes of mine reject ridiculous “healthcare” bills and interrogate Trump’s scary (did someone say Perry?), devious (DeVos?), treacherous (Sessions?) cabinet nominees with the intensity that a child watches an action scene — loving when my hero outwitted the villain, believing “good” had overcome “bad.”
On Thursday, one of these heroes of mine was unmasked. Minnesota Senator Al Franken was accused of sexual harassment and assault, an incident that had occurred in 2006. And as mad as I am about Harvey Weinstein or Roy Moore, I am furious over these allegations. This time, it felt personal.
See, I never watched Harvey Weinstein or Roy Moore with the respect that I had for Al Franken. I never put their book on my wish list, hoped to hear them speak, or dreamt of meeting them. Franken had earned my trust, admiration and could have earned my vote.
The response from Democrats was quick and certainly appropriate. Overall, the majority of feedback from fellow Democrats has been one of anger, disappointment and disgust; however, a few quips and Facebook comments reminded me of the haunting trend of rationalizing or defending assault.
Arguments that defend Franken’s actions as a joke, argue that he is “just touching a vest,” reference his accuser’s time as a model, or question a political agenda are all unimportant supporting details. What Franken did was wrong and it is time for society to acknowledge that the context of the admitted assault does not matter — there is no excuse for humiliating, violating and objectifying another human being.
Thank you, to both Democrats and Republicans who have reacted to the sexual assault allegations by condemning the actions of Franken and Moore (although not with the same swiftness). I hope that this dismissal continues to reach Roy Moore as well, as his abuses of power are another example of inappropriate behavior that has no place among lawmakers. By proving that powerful men are no longer untouchable, Senators have proven that women hold more value than a Senate seat or a production company. That’s a step both parties haven’t always taken and it’s important to remember that sometimes we can agree — and make progress — on certain topics.
Lindsey J. Pouliot
English major, WGS minor