All the sexual harassment allegations coming up in the news in recent weeks have my heart in knots. There’s so many ways that I am just really sick over each instance and I am having to work REALLY hard not to be hypocritical with regards to how I feel about the accused, in particular Senator Al Franken.
When Harvey Weinstein’s issues came to light, I wasn’t surprised. What shocked me and saddened me was the number of people whose worlds Harvey deeply scarred. I want to reach out to each one of these ladies and tell them how sorry I am they had to endure this kind of treatment. We’ll probably never know just how many people he assaulted, raped or coerced over the years and my heart is broken for the unknowns too. How many careers didn’t come to fruition because of him?
Then, there is Kevin Spacey. I’ve admired Kevin for quite some time because he was mentored by one of my all-time favorite actors, Jack Lemmon. Kevin has a quick comedic wit and is often quoted when describing a successful actor’s responsibility of “sending the elevator back down” to pick up the next person and help them rise to recognition. I admired that. I always felt he understood the plight of people who are struggling to make it in the vocation of performing arts. Little did I know that he was a complete letch. I’m not a huge fan of Anthony Rapp’s work, but my God. I can’t imagine being 14 and having to fight off an unwanted advance like that, then keeping it a secret for more than 30 years. To all the others that Kevin has assaulted over the years, you also have my profound and heartfelt sympathy.
The report that disappoints me the most… that makes me the saddest is with Senator Al Franken. I’ve long been a fan of his books, his comedy and just him as a person. He has always seemed so genuine and wonderful. I am sure that he is still genuine and wonderful. I think he is still capable of serving Minnesota and America as a United States Senator as well. On the same thought trail of thought, my heart is broken for Leeann Tweeden & Lindsay Menz as well. They kept their experience to themselves for quite some time. I can’t begin to imagine the pain associated with that; the fear.
Alexandra Tracy-Ramirez is a Public Voices Fellow with the OpEd Project, a former college administrator and an attorney who represents students, faculty or school staff in cases involving discrimination, harassment and other Title IX violations. She wrote an article for NBC News called “Maybe Al Franken’s a ‘good’ man. He still admitted to sexual harassment” where she prefaces with “It is comforting to think that horrendous acts are committed only by horrendous people. It’s also untrue.” I would state unequivocally that she is correct. Good people do terrible things every day. I’ve seen it happen. We’re seeing it revealed in Senator Franken right now.
I could go on and on and completely gush about how much I admire Senator Franken. He truly is THE LAST politician, much less democrat, who seems to speak directly to my personal political ideology, social sensibilities and moral ideals. He is direct without being condescending. He is plain-spoken but commands a firm grasp of language and a vast knowledge of details on a variety of subjects. He’s someone who Americans can truly aspire to be…. except for right this moment.
He committed these acts. They were terrible and wholly inappropriate. It was something that would never occur to me to do to someone. I hope that he can earn forgiveness for moments of poor decision making in the name of comedy. I hope that by telling their story and having it acknowledged not just by Al, but by the country, Leeann & Lindsay can find it in her heart to eventually forgive Al. He has done great work for this country and will continue to do so as long as he’s allowed to. Something tells me though that we’re going to see the exact opposite of this.
God, grant me the grace to not be hypocritical on the subject of sexual harassment. Please make me even more compassionate to those who have been victimized and to those who have committed one of the wrongest wrongs.