Thank you to all of you who took time to respond to my email about why I did not call for Al Franken’s resignation. I received many responses, and about 90% of them supported my position. There were so many that I can’t respond individually, but I read and appreciated all that were not ugly (only a few were ugly). I have also been approached in person by many DFLers who are angry at what happened and happy to see my email because they thought they were alone. I am sharing a sampling of the responses so you can get a flavor of the reaction.
On Sunday, former Governor Arne Carlson weighed in with a similar sentiment. You can read the entire piece here: http://govarnecarlson.blogspot.com/
Here are a few of the responses I received. (Initials only, to protect the privacy of the writers, some edited for length.)
I would like to express my support and agreement with your statements regarding Al Franken. As a woman approaching 60, I worked in a male-dominated of engineering many years and understand the challenges and patterns of behavior. No doubt lots of crap has gone down over the years and needs to stop. But all scenarios are not the same as you so eloquently stated thank you.
The concern for me is that it has become more about sexual behavior in isolation rather than the behavior around gender that truly threatens women's paychecks. Both are extremely important, but somehow grabbing someone's ass instead of their paycheck is much more titillating. In the rearview mirror of my career the bigger impact is most certainly those instances where my career and paycheck were threatened. Often times they are intertwined, but we need to pay attention to both not just the more salacious events and pictures.
Best regards and thank you —SS
I deeply appreciate your common sense with regard to Al.
Unfortunately, this choice of party over person has soured me permanently on the democrats. Pick another party - you KNOW we need one - you’ll have my support, money and vote. I will never support the democrats again, and sadly, will abstain before I vote for one. —LG
Fantastic write up. Thank you, and I hope you are my next Governor.
Very well written. I agree completely. I am mad that we will not know the truth. I feel cheated that our Senator was forced to resign for something he may not have done. Sexual harassment is deplorable, but so is being forced out by anonymous allegations without a hearing. Where is the due process that America is noted for? I feel Al was cheated.
Keep up your measured, reasonable thought process. It will suit you (and all of us) well in your future endeavors. —LD
I agree that it is a great disappointment that too many democrats called for Senator Franken to go as soon as the first allegation became public, seemingly without any due diligence on their part and certainly no due process for Sen. Franken. It would have been very difficult for Senator Franken to go through the ethics hearing but it would have been much more important to have gone through the process and establish the FACTS of his misogynist behavior. This really does nothing to bring attention or justice to the transgressions of "Judge" Roy Moore or Donald Trump. Their bestial reaction will be to gloat about how they can get away with it.
There is now a feeling among many I have spoken with, male and female, that a lynch mob mentality prevails, with little proof more than "he said, she said,,,". Let's punish misogynism wherever found, but with thoughtful, measured response rather than continue the circular firing squads.
This message was read and approved by the important women in my life. —NW
I really appreciate this email and statement from you. Like most women I know, I've had dozens of experiences with men in my lifetime that occupy a gray area somewhere between "inappropriate but harmless" and obviously wrong. Yet, I fear that we're missing an opportunity for learning and growth if we continue down this path of casting out every man who has ever crossed into that gray space. It's an important "ah ha moment" for many men to realize that things they've said and done in the past, believing them to be harmless fun, can actually make women feel victimized. But, we need to allow men the opportunity to experience that moment of understanding, apologize, and grow into better people in the future.
And, like you said, there is a clear difference in my mind between someone who has made off-color jokes, or even hugged/patted/kissed a woman without her consent, and men who literally rape or molest women and especially underage girls.
Thanks for putting yourself on the line to speak up. —AH
Thank you for standing up for Al!!! With you now. Took great courage not to join the witch hunt. Thank you for your smart, thoughtful explanation and for the courageous action itself. Bravo! —KB
Although your form letter was very well-composed and gives voice to my feelings on this subject, I have to say that over the last several election cycles I've been extremely disappointed in the DFL. The forced ousting of Senator Al Franken and the deplorable way that he was treated, became the proverbial "last straw" for me. I'll never vote again and I'll never support another political cause again. We're living in a new reality that I just can't wrap my poor brain around, and things just keep getting worse. The America I see lately sickens me, and at the same time, the political party that is supposed to fight against this madness seems to insist on disappointing me time and again. Good luck with your campaign, but quite frankly my dear, I no longer give a damn. –GB
It is exactly how many of my Democratic feminist friends and I see the issue, and I'm sure it took courage for you to stand up and say it. It's too easy to be bullied into false equivalencies these days. Dems have just shot themselves in the foot in a big way.
I just made a donation to your campaign. It felt like the only positive thing I've had a chance to do politically in a long time! —JS
I am not a Democrat, but a registered Modern Whig. That said, I voted for Al Franken and would do so again.
I believe that the Democratic Party is committing a mistake in trying to be "more politically correct" than the GOP by ridding their ranks of effective members like Senator Franken in the name of political correctness over insinuated sexual harassment charges. The supporters of Donald Trump do not care about any of that, and many independents are tired of the self-imposed strictures of that political posture. There is a world of difference between a sophomoric joke or momentary gaucherie and a genuine sexual assault. If the Democratic party is incapable of making these distinctions in the public sphere, rest assured that the GOP will not. Al Franken's mistakes were regrettable, but nevertheless potentially attributable to a very large segment of the US male population. In consequence the Democrats stand to reap a whirlwind of voters that believe that the Democratic party is overreaching on this issue for purely political reasons. —DB
You can't imagine what a joy it was to receive your email explaining why you did not support the remove to pressure Al Franken to resign. You have the good sense and ethics to remind us of the dangers inherent in the current moment, without disputing the gravity of pervasive sexual harassment. That is a nuanced thinking that I find woefully lacking in many liberal colleagues. Thanks, and know that many of us stand behind your position. —LS-S
Well said, Tina —in your letter describing Franken support. I have no doubt at all that Franken worked hard for MN. and was part of political collateral damage and sadly, had to go to show that at least Dems put country before party. I have always been an Independent voter —basing my vote on the candidate —not the party. Al was a great MN senator who will be memorable —though maybe not for his talent or humor or hard work and fairness. I think the female Democratic senators may have done Al and Govt. a grave injustice when put into the ironic perspective Franken himself described yesterday.
I saw what the Republicans did to hamper a President who was kind, honest and wise, perhaps one of the most intelligent Presidents ever! Our current President has done everything possible to scuttle his accomplishments and reputation and dismantle Democracy as we know it and bring us close to the brink of a Nuclear War —all with the support of his party. As long as I live, I will NEVER again vote for a Republican! This is a declaration I've heard from friends, family and even strangers who feel free enough to express their disgust over the corruption that rages in the highest office of the land. I hope Mueller finishes up his investigation swiftly so the country can begin to undo the damage before it becomes irreparable. —CF