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What Is Al Franken Doing Now?

Stephen Sinclair is a Canadian freelance writer who has been publishing professionally for several years.

Former U.S. Senator Al Franken on November 15, 2016, in Washington, D.C.

Former U.S. Senator Al Franken on November 15, 2016, in Washington, D.C.

Sexual Allegations Made By 'More Than A Half-Dozen Women'

Former U.S. Senator from Minnesota Al Franken resigned, on January 2, 2018, after "more than a half-dozen women" alleged that he had "touched or kissed them without permission." The Democrat "initially tried to weather the ensuing controversy, but decided to step down after several dozen of his fellow Democratic senators demanded he do so before an ethics investigation played out," as reported by the Star Tribune.

The former Saturday Night Live star and radio personality claimed a long record of political activism before he took his Senate seat, in 2008. As a comedian, Franken became known for unashamedly tackling political issues of the day.

"In a way, Franken has been running for office since the late '70s," Richard Corliss, with Time, wrote just prior to the 66-year-old's 2008 Senate run.

Since his resignation, Al Franken has kept a low profile. On January 5, the Star Tribune reported that he had "declined interview requests, hasn’t shared any details, and an aide said he’s focused on his family for now."

Many observers have questioned what appears to be a double standard being applied to former Senator Franken and President Donald Trump, who, according to The Independent, is the subject of sexual misconduct allegations made by 20 women.

'The View': Senator Gillibrand on Al Franken, Steve Wynn, and Donald Trump

Was Al Franken Treated Unfairly?

U.S. Senator from New York Kirsten Gillibrand, who has been named by Business Insider as a 2020 Democratic presidential contender based partly on her leadership to her "party's response to the reckoning over sexual harassment," appeared on The View, on January 29, 2018, where she spoke about Al Franken.

With regard to recent accusations of sexual harassment on the part of former RNC Finance Chairman Steve Wynn, Senator Gillibrand stated "I don't think these issues should be political" and described the silence on behalf of Republicans as "deafening."

Joy Behar, with The View, stated that she thought Al Franken's treatment after accusations were made against him was "unfair," considering that "the president of the United States has so many allegations of sexual harassment against him, and I don't see him going anywhere."

In the weeks leading up to his November 2016 election win, Donald Trump apologized about statements he made on, and seemingly confirmed the veracity of, an audio recording made of a conversation with Access Hollywood host Billy Bush. In the recording, Trump can be heard bragging about how, as a "star," women will let him do anything, such as grabbing them "by the p****."

More than a year later, Trump was reported by CNN to have voiced "doubts about the veracity of the recording."

"Al Franken admited it," Joy Behar noted, "and he got booted out."

Senator Gillibrand held up Donald Trump's "multiple allegations" of "sexual assault and sexual harassment."

Trump Said to Raise Doubts of Veracity of 'Access Hollywood' Tape

'Higher Standard'

"He should resign," Gillibrand stated. "He should be held accountable. I've not heard that from any Republicans."

She continued, saying that "Congress should be holding hearings."

"Where are the hearings?" Kirsten Gillibrand asked.

"What do you make of this? The Republicans' silence on these subjects?" Joy Behar asked.

"It shouldn't be a partisan issue," Kirsten Gillibrand said. "We should be having a very different conversation about President Trump and we should be holding him accountable."

She noted that the president has attempted to "dismiss" and "demean" his accusers.

"Why'd you push Franken out?" Behar asked Gillibrand.

"Al Franken is a friend of mine," Kirsten Gillibrand responded. "He did great work in the Judiciary Committee. So it was really hard and really heartbreaking."

"Obviously, what was alleged against Al Franken is very different than what's alleged about Steve Wynn, than what's alleged about President Trump, very different. I understand," the senator explained her position.

Behar stated that those who went after Franken were creating an "unequal equivalency" between his actions and that of Trump, Wynn and other accused men.

"No you're not," Kirsten Gillibrand was direct. "because it's not OK, Joy."

"Why would you want to hold our elected leaders to the lowest standard and not the highest standard?" the senator asked. "We should be holding all our elected leaders to the higher standard. And, I can't be a good mother, and I can't be a good senator, if I am silent just because it's my friend."

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: Why didn’t the public demand that President Trump step down with the same forcefulness that they did with former Senator Franken?

Answer: Many voters and politicians have demanded that President Trump step down. However, the decision is ultimately his. Some may see former Senator Franken's decision to step down as representative of a true sense of regret, and President Trump's failure to as representative of a lack of one.

Question: How many members of the Democratic Party are socialists?

Answer: Just about every American is, to a greater or lesser extent, a socialist. People who use roads, police services, the services of fire departments, social security, and national parks are socialists. The justice system is a socialist one. Similarly, it would seem that corporations that take advantage of government subsidies and tax programs are socialists, of a sort, too. The idea that some companies privatize profits and socialize costs is one that would seem to have some basis in fact.

The United States is a blended economy, made up of both capitalist and socialist elements. For matters of life and death, such as fire services and health care, who can argue with the merits of socialized systems? Similarly, for matters of generating wealth, spawning innovation, and offering opportunity to everyone, who can argue with the merits of capitalist economies?

As a keen observer of the stock market, I have long been concerned with a seeming rise of the notion that capitalism is bad because there are some bad actors within it. Figures such as Jordan Belfort and Bernie Ebbers come to mind. I have had the good fortune of learning the difference in the consequences of the actions of people like Belfort and Ebbers from those of people like Warren Buffett and William J. O'Neil. I am one of capitalism's biggest cheerleaders.

Capitalism, democracy, and freedom of speech go hand in hand in hand. One of the greatest rights of free and democratic societies is the right to vote in the affairs and participate in the profits of public companies. This is a right that far too many people allow to languish. This does not change the fact that socialized services like police, fire, and health care save lives and cost less to administer.

Question: How have communists become so embedded in the Democratic Party?

Answer: Communism is at odds with the beliefs of the membership of the Democratic Party. There are no communist members.

There is a Communist Party USA. In 2017, its membership was estimated at 5,000.

© 2018 Stephen Sinclair

Comments

Leslie McCowen from Cape Cod, USA on February 03, 2018:

Hmmm. So Gillibrand's a contender for 2020.....

She better not try and remove Kennedy like she did Franken.....

And she better not think we have forgotten her compliance to Roger friggin Stone.

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