Sexual Misconduct is a Bipartisan Problem

Sen. Al Franken

Sen. Al Franken

CN: Sexual Assault/Harassment/Misconduct

Despite our currently polarized nation, recent news has taught us that the Left and the Right have one thing in common: neither is immune to sexual misconduct. On the Right, there’s Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore who, despite his facade of being a pure and holy fundamentalist Christian, has been accused by several women of being sexually aggressive towards them when he was in his 30s and they were just teenagers. As a proud member of the Secular Left, it’s easy for me to laugh at the hypocrisy of Moore’s holier-than-thou attitude and the number of Republicans who would still vote for him simply because he’s not a pro-choice Democrat. It’s easy to make fun of Moore’s attorney Trenton Garmon’s disastrous interview on MSNBC, along with the fact that he looks like Judge Doom from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? when he reveals he’s a cartoon. Yet even a hardcore liberal like me has to face the fact that even the Left is not immune to sexual misconduct.

Last week radio broadcaster Leeann Tweeden revealed that Sen. Al Franken kissed and groped her without her consent during a 2006 USO Tour. Franken has since publicly apologized, and Tweeden forgave him. Besides issuing a public apology, he also called for an ethics investigation of his past behavior to hold himself accountable. In the days following, many on the Left are debating whether or not Franken should resign. Laurie Roberts of the Arizona Republic says yes, while New York Daily News’ Jonathan Zimmerman argues that, while Franken was wrong, he’s not a predator like Moore. My friend Sydney offered a similar argument on my Facebook wall the other day, but now she’s having second guesses with the news that another woman is claiming Franken groped her.

Yesterday morning, CNN broke the news that Franken allegedly grabbed Lindsay Menz’s butt during a photo op in 2010 at the Minnesota State Fair. The senator claims he doesn’t remember the event taking place since he’s taken pictures with so many people, but added, “I feel badly that Ms. Menz came away from our interaction feeling disrespected.” Things aren’t looking well for Franken, but he’s not the first Democrat to face sexual misconduct allegations.

For starters, this past September former Democratic Representative Anthony Weiner received a 21 month federal prison sentenced for sexting with a 15 year old girl. Likewise, Newsweek recently listed several politicians who are currently facing sexual misconduct allegations, including Democrats Stephen Bittel of Florida, Sen. Dan Schoen, and Tony Mendoza and Raul Bocanegra of California. And then there’s former US President Bill Clinton, who has been accused by four women of sexual harassment and/or assault. This isn’t, of course, meant to downplay the accusations against Moore and President Trump, but only to say that when it comes to sexual misconduct, no political party is innocent.

As of now, it’s still too early to know if these accusations will have any effect on either Franken’s political career or the 2018 election. One thing is for sure, though, and that’s sexism respects no political affiliation. Despite what many Red Pillers say, these allegations show that patriarchy still flows through America’s veins, and that women are still seen as sex objects to men. Only by addressing this problem can we make real achievement.

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