I am thankful to God for the gift of silence and listening! I have always appreciated these gifts in that they remain my best strategy in intense political moments. Such was the case for me surrounding the #MeToo Movement as it pertained to the accusations of sexual assault of Sen. Al Franken.
In light of Sen. Al Franken’s announcement about his resignation, I paused and looked inward to engage in a little SOUL searching by asking myself some examined questions:
- Am I a problem or a solution?
- What are the social problems that I would like to see solved?
- Am I part of the problem that I seek to end in any way, shape or form?
- In what way do I consciously or unconsciously contribute to the problems that I speak profoundly against?
- Are residues of the same problems I wish to solve in me? If yes, what have I done to seek help?
I had the privilege of working on the Campaign Team that elected Sen. Al Franken into his second term in office. As such, I can tell you without a shadow of doubt that Sen. Franken is a good man, and a wonderful progressive senator who has championed the cause of everyday people of the State of Minnesota and the United States at large.
His legislative accomplishments include the following:
- Cutting Health Care Costs
- Reforming Wall Street
- Protecting Minnesota Women from Violence
- Meeting the Needs of Minnesota Farmers, Ranchers and Rural Communities
- And many more
And still, in spite of all he has done, we cannot overlook the allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against him.
Again, Sen. Franken is a good man but notice that I have never referred to him as a perfect man. He is a human being and I understood that the best of any man or woman is a human being, and to be human is to be many things all of which can be true at the same time.
As human beings, we are bundles of both positive and negative attributes; we have the capabilities to express our sainthood while still full of vices and some of us are villains with a thimbleful of virtues.
Although, I am a Democrat and a proud one for that matter but with respect to Sen. Franken’s sexual misconduct allegations, I refuse to take the path of partisan politics on this for a couple of reasons: For one, politics has talked about this issue at the expense of morality which has blinded a great many people both Democrats and Republicans to the understanding of the oddity and duality of the human condition. Also, in our present political climate civility is a lost art. Instead, I have chosen to let decency and morality take lead the on this issue while politics takes a back seat, and as such, I gladly welcome the resignation of Sen. Franken.
As for those of us who knew Sen. Franken as a good man, where do we go from here? Do we still hold him with high esteem in our consciousness? The answer is ABSOLUTELY YES! However, we must also be in touch with reality and the uncomfortable truth that Sen. Franken is a good man that is also full of flaws and that these two attributes are inseparable. The fact that we’ve experienced the good side of his humanity doesn’t mean that we should crusade against those whose experiences of him are different – because these contradictions are valid and are at the core of our collective humanity.
Leeann Tweeden, Lindsay Menz, Stephanie Kemplin, Tina Dupuy and others that have accused Sen. Franken of groping them, I believe you all because this is all about how you felt and not about the innocence of Franken’s intentions. Your experiences are valid and no amount of apologies can undo the damage done! In time, however, I hope you all would accept his apology and can make room in your hearts for forgiveness understanding that he is not a bad man but a good man who has unfortunately acted terribly. Forgiveness does not validate his actions but instead recognizes that our human frailty can compromise our best judgment at any time. As my Yoruba people will say “A kì í mòó rìn kí orí ó máa jì” meaning no one walks without their head shaking.
Sen. Al Franken will be greatly missed as a senator but we are also blessed to have our Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, a capable replacement for Al Franken.