Dammit. I knew it was coming, and yet I still had hope. Right up until the moment Al Franken took the floor of the Senate today. The whole 11-minute speech is well worth watching or reading, but allow me to present for you its beating heart:
I, of all people, am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office, and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party.
But this decision is not about me. It’s about the people of Minnesota. And it’s become clear that I can’t both pursue the Ethics Committee process and, at the same time, remain an effective Senator for them.
Let me be clear. I may be resigning my seat, but I am not giving up my voice. I will continue to stand up for the things I believe in as a citizen, and as an activist.
And then everyone who had been hoping against hope for Franken to hang on and force the Ethics Committee to do its thing hung their heads. Because we feel like one of the good guys is being hung out to dry.
So I did the only thing I knew to do next – I shared the speech and honored Al Franken for having the grace to do what was in the best interest of the people he serves, rather than trying to fight the good fight for himself.
Personally, I think that is honorable. In my heart, I think he is still one of the good guys, because by choosing to step down, he allows the spotlight to pivot off him and instead focus in on those fighting the bigger fight.
That fight being, amongst other things, the outrage surrounding President Pussy Grabber endorsing the Pervy Creeper Trolling Teens at the Mall, which makes a comedian playing grab-ass seem, well, almost comical in comparison.
So where the hell is the line between right and wrong? How many of the touchy-feely good guys need to go down before we can get to frying the big, ugly, assaulting fish mongers?
Honestly? I don’t know. I’ve worked in a number of male-dominated industries, work environments where a gal better play along if she wanted to get along, from garment manufacturing to professional printing to bars. In my experience, it’s all muddy waters. But maybe that’s only because it was a boys’ club mentality. Who knows what happens if everything goes co-ed?
I get it, though. We all (women and men) want an answer to the elusive question: Where do we draw the line?
The line gets drawn in a workplace right at the spot where you can say, “No, that’s not cool.” Saying it without fear of reprimand or repercussions. The same place where the line is drawn (hopefully) with your friends and family.
My hope is that our daughters – and our sons – will find these waters a little clearer as they grow older. Not because it’s “politically correct,” but because human decency should dictate a code of conduct.
Ultimately, my hope is that someday, when lines are crossed accidentally, we can deal with it in the moment – without shame, without judgement, and with respect – on all sides.