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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 12/8/17

Senator Al Franken of Minnesota to Resign

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Figuratively speaking, Senator Al Franken of Minnesota has been cast by his Democratic colleagues in the Senate in the role of the sacrificial lamb -- sacrificed presumably for the common good of other Democratic Senators.

In an editorial titled "What Congress Can Learn from Al Franken" (dated December 7, 2017), the editorial board of the New York Times says, "In demanding Mr. Franken's resignation, the Democratic Party seized an opportunity to atone for its own bad history, including President Bill Clinton's sexual misconduct . . . ." Note the word "atone" here. The sacrificial lamb atones for the common good of the Democratic Party, eh?

Of course Christians have long thought of the historical Jesus as the sacrificial lamb who atoned for the sins of the world by being crucified to death on trumped up charges by the local authorities of the Roman Empire.

For the record, I am not implying that the charges of misconduct made against Senator Franken are trumped-up charges.

The New York Times' columnist Michelle Goldberg also opines about Senator Franken in her column titled "Franken Is Leaving and Trump Is Still Here" (dated December 7, 2017). To her credit, she does not explicitly use language about "the Democratic Party seiz[ing] an opportunity to atone for its own bad history."

Michelle Goldberg sensibly says that the door of recourse is open only to "those whose harassers are either personally or professionally susceptible to shame." So alleged harassers who are not "personally or professionally susceptible to shame" are not likely to be touched by "[t]he incendiary rage unleashed by Trump's election." In certain ways, the outrage unleashed by Trump's electoral victory has indeed been truly incendiary -- like a wildfire.

But Michelle Goldberg also writes of "the trauma of Trump's election." Say what? In more than one OEN piece before the election, I warned that Trump's possible victory was not unthinkable -- and so did certain other authors.

Let's face it, Hillary was an uncharismatic campaigner. Only in her last rally in Philadelphia did she attract a large enthusiastic crowd. By contrast, Trump regularly attracted large enthusiastic crowds. In addition to being an uncharismatic campaigner, Hillary was not well equipped to criticize Trump's misogyny because of her own fierce role in defending Bill Clinton against allegations of sexual misconduct, as noted above.

Trump's election was undoubtedly a disappointment for Hillary's supporters. But a "trauma"? Regardless of whether Hillary's supporters experienced Trump's election as a "trauma," their incendiary outrage is going to have to be leashed and brought under control, just as the wind-enhanced wildfires in southern California are going to have to be brought under control. The problem with expressing outrage is that we can get carried away with expressing it and go on a rampage that taps into our inner child's unprocessed anger from hurts in the past.

From the allegations of sexual misconduct made against Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, and Al Franken, I conclude that all three men have suffered, to one degree or another, from arrested development of their sex drive.

As I have already noted, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand took one step in the right direction for the Democratic Party recently when she said that Bill Clinton should have resigned. For understandable reasons, the Democratic Party is one focal point in our current discussion of allegations of sexual harassment. But our current discussion of allegations of sexual harassment includes the movie and television entertainment industries and other organizational structures.

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; Ph.D.in higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)
 

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