On the EDge: Character still matters

Image of Al Franken from congress.gov, St. George News

OPINION — I’m not going to defend Sen. Al Franken.

I cannot.

As an advocate of women’s rights for many decades, I will not compromise my principles simply because I share a liberal ideology with Franken. What he did was wrong and it is clear his actions do not reflect a one-time lapse in judgment. There are enough women who have come forward with complaints to justify the call for his resignation.

And, as far as those who will compare his actions to those of others, well, you cannot have it both ways. Just because you find common ground politically does not mean you should put your moral standards in a box and place them on a shelf.

But, while I am truly disturbed and disappointed in Franken, I must also congratulate him for his resignation.

It sets an example of what we should demand from our elected leadership.

If it results in further political imbalance in the Senate, well, that’s the way it goes.

This draining of the swamp we have heard so much about applies to both sides and just because I fly liberal colors does not mean that I should give the man a pass.

Democrats, in general, are getting a lot of flak from extreme party loyalists for not fighting this situation more vigorously, for not pushing the misdeeds to the side in the interest of “politics.”

But, all that does is perpetuate the madness that is The Beltway and the problems that we now face with deeply rooted charlatans who preach one message but live by another.

And, it makes it perfectly clear, once again, that when it comes to improper behavior, it doesn’t matter which party you belong to, which religion you profess to follow or the circumstances of the culture that produced you.

I hope this lesson in character is absorbed by others, although I doubt it.

We already have seen the president push aside the serious allegations of child sexual assault as he supports a person who a number of women have claimed offenses against when they were not of age for legal sexual consent. Of course, the president has gone on record as a serial womanizer who, whether single or married, used his celebrity to accost women. At least 16 have come forward with accusations.

Yet, come election time, even as video and audio tapes came forward with damning evidence – from his own mouth – he found Jesus and courted the Christian right, which holds key votes in key states that helped him squeeze out barely enough votes in Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin to win in the Electoral College. I mean, you would be hard-pressed to find evidence of him uttering the words, “God bless America” prior to his running for the presidency.

His recent conversion, if you will, was enough for the born-agains to overlook his statements about how his money, power and celebrity allowed him to assault women by kissing them or grabbing their genitals.

Sex scandals in politics, or Hollywood or sports or anywhere else, as a matter of fact, should not be surprising any more.

We have seen enough of them, some shocking, some rather predictable.

That doesn’t mean we should be able to pick and choose who to punish and who to give a pass.

Sexual predation is unacceptable regardless of who it involves, their societal rank, their fortune, their “professed” religious beliefs, their political affiliation, and if you don’t get this simple fact, you really need to take a long, hard look in the mirror.

Remember, these were fully grown, chronologically mature men acting badly, whose life experiences should have made them into better people.

There is, of course, the hard and cold fact that nobody is perfect.

We all make mistakes, we all error, we all have lapses of judgment.

A moralist will learn from those situations, will grow, will strive to maintain a moral compass pointing them back to civility.

But, as we are learning from the exploding headlines, there are a lot of folks who repeatedly ignore that little voice inside, that steering component of their moral compass, which is supposed to guide them to the right decisions.

Oh, they find it quickly enough when they can use it to hammer away at a particular foe or opponent, without grace or mercy. All too frequently, we see the tables turned as, a little further on up the road, they find themselves involved in a serious scandal of equal proportions, when suddenly, the accuser becomes the accused and their hypocrisy is exposed. At that point, the apologies and tears cannot flow quickly enough, but I suspect they are motivated more as a result of getting caught rather than sorrow for their behavior, especially when they continue their predatory behavior.

You can split hairs all you want.

You can draw the lines of indecency wherever they are the most comfortable for you.

Want to give Al Franken a pass?

That’s your business.

Want to give the president a pass?

That’s your decision.

Want to let Bill Clinton off the hook because he was a brilliant economist who righted the country despite his predatory actions?

That’s up to you.

I can keep going, of course, with an ever-growing list of offenders, but I think you get the point here.

You see, as far as I’m concerned, character still matters.

And, Sen. Al Franken’s resignation is a lesson in character, regardless of which party you support.

It doesn’t erase what he did, it doesn’t remove the lingering impact of what his actions provoked, it doesn’t mean we should shrug our shoulders, say “boys will be boys” and move on.

It means that at least one of these predators understands that there are consequences for his actions.

And, that’s a lesson these other guys also should learn.

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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  • Utahguns December 12, 2017 at 7:38 am

    OK Ed.
    I’ll take your argument on the topic of character. It sounds all quaint and pretty.
    But, if you were in a street fight, would you want an experienced fighter on your side, or, would you want some panty-waist?

    So here are the reasons I voted for President Trump:
    1. Our country was in the crapper for job growth.
    2. Our country was in the crapper for the GDP.
    3. Our trade balance favored our trading partners, not us.
    4. Our military was in the lowest state of readiness since WWII.
    5. Our borders were non-existent and illegal immigration was at an all-time high.
    6. Taxes were killing the middle class family.
    7. Racism and the divisiveness of what the democratic party was promoting begetting hatred.
    8. The United States is in a street fight economically, politically and internationally.

    When I went to the polling booth, I wanted to elect a successful businessman to pull us out of this mess, not a corrupt career politician who I feel was unqualified for the job and had “tons more baggage” in her and her husband’s corner than the other guy.

    • ladybugavenger December 12, 2017 at 8:14 am

      Amen. Trump is doing a fine job, it would be better if people would stop the hate. They hate Trump. They vote against his policies just because he is Trump.

      He’s a fighter and he will get this country strong.

      P.s. Jerusalem has always been the capital of Israel. Trump saying it’s the capital caused an uproar amongst the democrats. Presidents before him recognized that, said they would recognize it, but didn’t have the balls to follow through. (Thats an example of the hate trump movement) We have a tough president that does what he says. And what is blocked from him doing, he will fight til it’s done. He fights for us.

      • tcrider December 12, 2017 at 9:22 am

        Get real,
        a fighter? the dungle is nothing but a walking
        garbage bag of dung that is just starting to
        get a dose of reality from the Russian investigation,
        what is the penalty for treason? Either hung or
        shot, but it dosn’t take much to destroy a bag a dung.

        the dungle trump, never my stinking pile

        • ladybugavenger December 12, 2017 at 10:18 am

          A fine example of the hate Trump movement.
          You must be for:
          1. Open boarders
          2. High numbers of Americans on welfare
          3. Weak military
          4. Enabling ( more people too be on welfare)
          5. Enabling (more people to rely on government assistance)
          6. Enabling (more illegals to be treated better than American citizens)
          7. Enabling (people to be weak and have no voice)

          You’re hate does not influence me. You’re hate is going to kill you. Stress will kill you. Relax. How has your life gotten worse by a policy? This hate you have is very dark. And its yours alone and not mine. ? find peace with God.

        • Southpaw December 12, 2017 at 1:50 pm

          Hey tcrider, you’ve been reading way too much Huffington Post. . .

      • mctrialsguy December 12, 2017 at 9:48 am

        L….B….A…Thank you!

    • tcrider December 12, 2017 at 8:31 am

      When you went to the poll you voted for one of the worst cheating pieces of dung that ever laid foot on the planet,
      the dungle was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and never accomplished nothing on his own in his life, the
      dungle got out of going to vietnam with five deferments from the dungles dad, nothing in your article is even comes
      close to the truth, you sound like your from the bundy ranch, (the united states is not in a street fight economically),
      we are the wealthiest nation on earth for our size, you are a blooming idiot that willl only progressively write more stupid comments.
      The dungle, never my stinking pile,

    • statusquo December 12, 2017 at 8:53 am

      Why did you only list 8 reasons why you voted for Trump? Maybe 1 reason for each year the country was being screwed by the Obama white house?

    • mctrialsguy December 12, 2017 at 9:48 am

      U…G…Well said!

    • Utahguns December 12, 2017 at 10:52 am

      Hmmmm, looks like a few took it personally with the panty-waist comment….

    • jaybird December 12, 2017 at 8:22 pm

      And really who gives a … why you voted for Trump. Hes a lying pervert who also got elected with the help of Russia. God who cares about your stupid rationale. No matter. You will always sound like a moron.
      Ed. ellipsis

  • Real Life December 12, 2017 at 7:58 am

    Deja vu? Every single article you write starts off on a subject and ends up bashing Trump by the end. Every one Ed. You are a smart man, but your deep hatred for the president has jaded you.

    • jaybird December 12, 2017 at 9:55 pm

      Its justified and you know it.

  • Travis December 12, 2017 at 9:04 am

    Franken resigns, Moore will probably be elected today and Trump is still alive. Please don’t congratulate Franken for resigning. Utahguns really doesn’t care about class. Hey, look at the … and the PIG-IN-CHIEF he supports.
    Ed. ellipsis.

  • DRT December 12, 2017 at 9:10 am

    I agree with the majority of your thoughts in this particular column. (Which in itself is unusual.) But what you, and apparently the rest of the liberals either cannot, or will not see, is that most of the folks who voted for Trump, didn’t really vote for him. They voted against Hillary Clinton.
    I have no use for Trump, never did never will. But when you look at the choices the idiotic party leaders gave us, he was the obviously lesser of two evils.
    I honestly have to wonder if we are going to survive as a nation with Trump as president. If he doesn’t get us into a nuclear war, it will be amazing.
    I don’t believe that Hillary would get us into a war. But I do believe she would sell her country down the toilet for money.

    • jaybird December 12, 2017 at 8:30 pm

      And they made a mistake. Making the statement “make America great again” correlate with a lying, adulterous, thieving, pathetic traitor like Trump, no matter what is and always will be a misnomer. Trump needs to resign on the accounts women have made about his depravity alone

    • bikeandfish December 13, 2017 at 9:04 am

      I have heard similar thoughts from other voters who chose Trump. It was a difficult election that reflected a major divide and many Americans weren’t satisfied with either candidate.

      Lets hope we have a better opportunity in the future.

  • Sapphire December 12, 2017 at 9:26 am

    Something good is coming from the Trump presidency. The swamp IS draining as more and more illegal, conspiring, and disgusting behavior is discovered and reported and those people leave office. Never have I seen so many public and private officials leave their positions. And those congressmen who are anti-Social Security, anti-disability, anti-Medicare, and anti-Medicaid are showing their true disengagement from the reality of the aged, poor, temporarily unemployed, and disabled now that they feel comfy in their majority. Write your congressmen, over and over. It is easy… they all have websites with a place to write your concerns and hopefully ideas for improvement. Anyone can complain but coming up with good ideas is better.

  • mctrialsguy December 12, 2017 at 9:52 am

    Hollywood liberals created that problem in using those tactics for job screening (on the casting couch), and Kennedy & Clinton helped with their womanizing in the White House. And, liberals are the first cry foul when caught and try to distract their guilt by blaming others…same old story….

  • old school December 12, 2017 at 10:22 am

    The recent rash of “finger pointing” is nothing more than an incidious Republican plot to decimate the Democratic party. The 80’s will always be “The AL Franken Decade” to me

    • tcrider December 12, 2017 at 1:15 pm

      I think both the left and right are going to be done within three years, the left is trying
      to get rid of their frankens to make it look like their not hypocrites, but I hope Bernie
      dosn’t get in there, he was having a contest with Hillary on how much they could give
      away last time.

  • 42214 December 12, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    Ed, your hero Al Franken did not resign. He was forced out by his fellow liberals for PC expediency. Totally thrown under the proverbial bus so Dems could claim the moral high ground with the possible election of Moore and the lay the ground work for going after Trump. Franken’s last words were, “With friends like mine, I don’t need enemies.” He was used and thrown away. The Dems said, “we got you back Al” as the pushed him off the cliff.

  • comments December 12, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    let me try paraphrase the donald from memory


    we go a complete show clown buffoon for a pres. A narcissist buffoon. I was hoping this donald actually would “drain some swamps” but it’s clear that will never happen. The donald is comfortable going along with the republican status quo at this point, which is just business as usual. Can’t wait to see what kind of war this POS gets us into. I see a lot of wingnutters commenting on this one, and and y’all are out of touch, living in lala land. Will you clowns ever come back to reality?

    • ladybugavenger December 12, 2017 at 6:06 pm

      It’s always the atheist that say come back to reality. Lol

  • jaybird December 12, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    Now lets get that pervert in the white house OUT!

    • John December 12, 2017 at 8:33 pm

      jaybird, the pervert isn’t in the whitehouse..he was impeached on December 19, 1998. and left office on January 20, 2001. His self important wife was not elected. Now if you have some proof that Trump has done something wrong, you had better show it or shut up because you sound like just another butt hurt democrat liberal loser. All that’s out there is a bunch of hearsay and you libtards fall for it every time. No wonder your party’s mascot is a Donkey.. you all act like the back end..

      • jaybird December 12, 2017 at 10:00 pm

        Sweet home Alabama. Your ignorant liar traitor adulterer of a president got powned by black and women votes. People are getting wise to the pervertion of this perditious president, his crooked ways and friends. Guess you can count yourself among the stupid minority still supporting this republican facade of morality. Yeah, the party of family values. What a laugh.

      • jaybird December 12, 2017 at 10:05 pm

        Check this out, John:
        “A president who would all but call Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand a whore is not fit to clean the toilets in the Barack Obama Presidential Library or to shine the shoes of George W. Bush,” reads the piece.”This isn’t about the policy differences we have with all presidents or our disappointment in some of their decisions. Obama and Bush both failed in many ways. They broke promises and told untruths, but the basic decency of each man was never in doubt.” USA TODAY Editorial Board…
        Stop being dence. Get woke, dunce.

        • John December 12, 2017 at 10:22 pm

          But he didn’t…your’e a moron..hahahahaha!

          • jaybird December 13, 2017 at 10:44 am

            And he did. You are a Utard dunce.

          • John December 13, 2017 at 6:21 pm


  • bikeandfish December 12, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    Looks like Alabama just kicked Roy Moore to the curb. Character does matter.

    • tcrider December 12, 2017 at 10:15 pm

      so much for Roy and the horse he rode in on.

      • Lee Sanders December 15, 2017 at 10:36 am

        If you have ever ridden a horse with western saddle, or perhaps even English, you will get a kick out of seeing Moore ride. It’s like a cartoon! I’d swear he has never been on horseback before and he tries to portray himself as some sort of western horseman macho type. Worth a grin. Hope we don’t have to hear or see anything more of him in the future.

    • Ladyk December 13, 2017 at 1:09 am

      I wouldn’t go jump up and down on that soap box just yet. It remains to be see who Mr Jones will most align himself with. Remember, Trump carried Alabama in a big way and the state is still mostly conservative. This guy is going to want to keep his job since he fought so hard for it. That will require some fancy footwork.

      Ed, as for Al Franken…. He was dropped kicked out of office because every woman saw the picture he took of him grabbing that girl while she was asleep. They finally saw the Al the rest of us knew was in there all the time. There is MUCH more that was about to come out about him so he ran out of there as fast as he could. Politics is often about the lessor of 2 evilsHillary and Bill x2 were just 2 to many evils. Now if they and Obama would just shut it and go away. Have some class already. I guess we are all just in a brave new world where someone once said “Character matters”. The problem with that is, not very many people have an Character any more.

      My father had a large real estate business. I use to go to work with him on Saturday mornings so I could clean and help around the office. This gave me some great memories with my dad who had spend my early life flying in jets fighting for our country. Now here he was teaching me life skills. One thing he told me that I will never forget. He said he would rather loose every penny than have 1 person feel that he had not treated them fairly.

      Ed, you are exactly right ( dang that stings a bit), Character does matter. Can you find me one politition with that kind of Character?

      • bikeandfish December 13, 2017 at 9:08 am

        His policy statements seem clearly Democrat but the last Democratic senator elected in Alabama (1991?) switched to the RNC. If he stays with the DNC he’ll likely get voted out in 2020, given it was a special election.

        Either way, Alabama pushed Moore to the curb. Hopefully he is too toxic for a 2020 run.

    • ladybugavenger December 13, 2017 at 6:45 am

      Moore shouldn’t have won. It will be fine. Unless this dude is for open boarders, more people on welfare, gay marriage and murder of unborn children- if that’s the case, then the world is going to hell in a hand basket, real quick.

      • Lee Sanders December 15, 2017 at 10:39 am

        Please, LBA, it’s borders, not boarders. I’m sure if you were running a boarding house, you would want it to be open.

        • ladybugavenger December 16, 2017 at 8:33 pm

          I got this new galaxy S8 and you should see all my errors in messeger. It looks like a mmsandie comment. That’s the only thing I don’t like about this phone. Its hard to type with. I might get better at it. But who knkws lol knows

  • commonsense December 13, 2017 at 7:26 am

    Character still matter is a state like Alabama where people are moral and God fearing. It didn’t seem to matter much in Californis where a jury found for an illegal deported immigrant who shot down an innocent girl.
    Morals mattered zero in Washington DC when they re-elected Marion Barry after seeing a video of him involved in prostitution or how about New York where Anthony Weiner is elected after spreading his genitals over the Internet and then Hillary’s best friend marries him.

    • bikeandfish December 13, 2017 at 8:53 am

      Make no mistake, the god-fearing white citizens of Alabama voted for the child molester by a ratio of 3-to-1. Davis won because 96%+ of black citizens in the state voted for him.
      Evangelical Americans need to inventory themselves and their own character on why they chose to support power politics over a clear case of values and ethics in action.

      • bikeandfish December 13, 2017 at 10:36 am

        *Jones, not Davis. Ugh.

      • jaybird December 13, 2017 at 10:46 am

        I agree. That part of family values has stretched the truth to zuit a bunch of phonies who use religion to add folly to fools. All BS.

    • bikeandfish December 13, 2017 at 9:01 am

      Juries are supposed to rule on law and evidence, not assumptions based on personal morals. There are plenty of cases we each could state disappointment in but at the end of the day the defendants had their day in court which is a principle “character” trait of this country

      Weiner resigned and was openly criticized and ridiculed by New Yorkers, especially the media. Huma married before evidence of his scandalous behavior went public.

      You are digging deep for examples with Marion Barry. That was 20+ years ago.

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