Thursday, December 7, 2017
Today, Sen. Al Franken announced he would be resigning shortly in the wake of multiple sexual misconduct allegations and the voiced opinion of several of his Senate colleagues that he should resign. Some supporters of Franken feel like this is a bum's rush, that there are certainly other political figures (Trump, Moore, Fahrenthold) who have done worse and should also be gone.
This thing of it is, it's right for Franken to resign at the point because it is. Sure, his replacement will be selected by a Democratic governor, but this really isn't a partisan game. If the principle we're following is that certain behavior is unacceptable, would Franken staying be a helpful way of showing our values? It isn't about what the "other side" is up to in deciding to strongly back an alleged child molester, or continuing to support a president who openly boasted about the sexual liberties he felt he could take.
Franken has been, no doubt, sharp and effective, and people might feel strongly invested in his seat, especially after the narrow victory that gave it to him in 2008. But there is no good reason for the drama to be prolonged just because one loves the character.
It would be great if the worst actors were the first to go, but saying "You first" is ceding the high ground. I am not interested in being as hypocritical as the other side. It means more to be right. It is also appropriate to still say Trump and Moore are unfit for office and should not serve. But I don't know that saying so affects their supporters in any way. We can say it aloud to feel good, but you can't put shame into a shameless partisan. All you can do is the right thing.