On the EDge: Politics aside, neither Franken nor Moore deserve a pass

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OPINION – Al Franken and Roy Moore are pretty much done.

So are the careers of a lot of other high-profile guys who have trouble keeping their hands to themselves and their zippers closed.

The whole Franken-Moore thing is, quite frankly, disgusting.

Not only was their behavior reprehensible, but so is the behavior of those who are rendering judgment along party lines. Even if they remain in the public eye, they will always be tainted by this mess.

The president has handled this thing poorly, cutting slack for Moore, while turning up the heat on Franken.

Moore, running to fill the Senate seat vacated in Alabama when Jeff Sessions was named U.S. attorney general, is accused of inappropriate sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl. His proclivity for young women is evident as at least nine other women have stepped forward with accusations, including one who said he approached her first when she, too, was only 14. The latter incidents would carry no criminal charges because the age of consent in Alabama is 16. However, it establishes his pattern of, as a man in his 30s, seeking sexual intimacy with extremely young women.

Franken, a rather droll, sophomoric limousine liberal, got much harder judgment from the president after photos surfaced depicting him fondling a woman he was working with on a USO tour. While it most certainly was not as egregious as Moore’s behavior, it was nonetheless sexual harassment, no matter how much spin you put on it.

Neither Moore nor Franken deserve kid-glove treatment.

They were grown men, at least chronologically, when they did these things. They should have known better. They should have shown respect. They should have understood that they were violating these women.

But, they didn’t.

They abused their positions, traded on their power and celebrity to take advantage.

But, the wicked world of politics is trying to tell us, depending on our own personal ideology, which one of these guys to admonish and which one to cut some slack.

We’re even being told, by a proven liar, what to believe and what not to believe in these incidents; a proven liar who, we must add, has still not been cleared of moral decay and 16 charges of sexual abuse of women who have been largely ignored.

Whatever your politics, it is clear that Moore and Franken are not alone, are not the only sexual predators out there.

We have seen an alarming number of women, and even men, who have come forward with claims of abuse from film stars, business executives and many, many other politicians.

What should also concern us is that many more women have been abused by lesser-known thugs; women who have been assaulted by husbands, friends, family, bosses at the local burger joint as they try to work their way through school.

What about those women?

Are they to be silenced because their attacker is not a household name?

Are they to just endure the trauma of such devastating actions?

Are they going to be ignored?

And, what if they do come forward? What then?

Prosecutors are slow to react when a case of sexual assault is dropped on their desk.

If they decide to pursue charges, it is often the woman who comes under the microscope, not the man.

How was she dressed? Was her dress too short or did she show too much cleavage?

How did she act? Was she friendly? Was she being conversational?

What is her sexual history?

Did she “lead them on?”

Was she drunk or high?

What did she do to provoke this reaction in the man?

But, you know what?

Young women are assaulted.

Middle-aged women are assaulted.

Elderly women are assaulted.

Gay women are assaulted.

Straight women are assaulted.

Brazen women are assaulted.

Modest women are assaulted.

For God’s sake, nuns are assaulted.

This private violation then becomes public, between the physical examinations performed at the local hospital, the investigation by police and prosecutors and, if it gets that far, a trial.

It’s understandable why so many women who find themselves in this position begin to feel as if the authorities who are supposedly there to help them are looking at them as if they were the perpetrators instead of the victims.

So, many remain silent.

What happens then?

How do they shed this feeling of guilt and shame when, in reality, they, the victims, have done nothing wrong?

Meanwhile, this feeling of sexual privilege, entitlement, superiority continues to be supported in culture and, sadly, in too many homes.

How many times have you heard some pinhead father bragging about his son being out all night, chasing women?

“Just like his old man,” I have heard too many men say boastfully.

How many men make a point of drilling home the idea that “No!” really means “No!” and that pursuing a sexual encounter beyond that is, at the very least, harassment and, at the very worst, rape?

How many men are setting an example in the home?

Are they loving?

Are they respectful?

This is on us, guys, whether we were raised 50 years ago or are cradling newborns.

It is our responsibility and nobody else’s.

We, as men, have tolerated the so-called “locker room talk.”

We absolved the abusive behavior of a presidential candidate who bragged how a rich and famous guy could get away with anything, that all you have to do is grab it, kiss it and have your way.

We have allowed this, we have excused this, we have covered it up, we have encouraged this by our refusal to hold men accountable for their aggression against women and, most profoundly, by our lack of respect and support for women.

It’s time to own it, gentlemen, it’s time to acknowledge the fact that the reason why we see so many women finally speaking up is because they are finding strength in numbers, a solidarity with other women who have been abused, taken advantage of, exploited.

It’s on us.

We have created the problem, perpetuated the problem.

It is up to us to fix it.

In the name of decency.

If you don’t believe me, ask your wives, daughters, mothers, sisters, aunts or nieces.

No bad days!

Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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  • AnotherReader November 21, 2017 at 8:19 am

    What these two deserve, and all others, is at least due process. If Franken has admitted his behaviors already, then fine. But for all of the other accusations flying around, it seems that everyone is jumping on a bandwagon declaring that Accusation Constitutes Guilt. Shows are cancelled, jobs are lost, people are despised. If the accusations are true, then the guilty party deserves whatever repercussions come. But an accusation alone, or even a string, does not mean guilt. Many may in fact be guilty of these reprehensible actions, but I suspect not all. There are many people who would say all sorts of things for a few minutes of fame. Let’s at least give some inkling that due process matters.

    • dodgers November 21, 2017 at 8:38 pm

      Well said. Too many assume an accusation equals guilt, which is a very dangerous road to travel.

  • comments November 21, 2017 at 9:38 am

    Yup, the leader of the free world is ol’ Mister “grab ’em by the p****” himself. He’s able to get himself a pass by paying off all the women he has molested over the years; that, or have his high-power lawyers threaten to ruin them. Lord only knows how many women and girls he molested and exploited in east europe before and after he sourced his Slovakian trophy wife from there.

    The Al Franken thing seems a bit ridiculous when compared to a 30-something assistant DA or whatever that actually pursued and sexually molested teenage girls. Maybe Franken did a lot worse that we don’t know about, but as it is now the comparison seems ridiculous.

  • John November 21, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Neither deserve a pass, but they both deserve due process ! It is a known fact that politicians use sexual allegations to throw their opponents campaigns into turmoil. INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY.. just sayin’

  • mctrialsguy November 21, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    And Ed says “Politics Aside…” ha..ha…..and then throws digs at Trump…typical Liberal B.S. Funny how Ed doesn’t condemn the Liberal POS that did the Vegas shooting…..they are scary, mean spirited people..just strange!!

  • a900rr November 21, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    I’ll own that “…it’s time to acknowledge the fact that the reason why we see so many women finally speaking up is because they are finding strength in numbers…”

    I won’t own that I “have created the problem, perpetuated the problem.”
    I didn’t personally cause this or perpetuated this problem.
    Don’t blame men, especially ‘gentlemen’ for something they didn’t cause!

    I treat everyone with respect, even if I don’t know them…especially the fairer sex.
    I give them the benefit of any personal doubt.

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