The Washington Post published a column Friday morning by feminist Kate Harding. The column criticizes Sen. Al Franken over the recent revelations of Leeann Tweeden detailing Franken’s lewd and harassing behavior during a USO tour in 2006.
Harding’s take can fairly be summed up as: “Sure, Franken’s a pig, but he votes to keep abortion legal so he shouldn’t resign.”
Harding is described in her byline by the Washington Post as “co-editor of “Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump’s America,” co-host of the podcast Feminasty, and author of “Asking for It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture—And What We Can Do About It.”
Harding begins by excoriating Franken in no uncertain terms:
As a feminist and the author of a book on rape culture, I could reasonably be expected to lead the calls for Al Franken to step down, following allegations that he forced his tongue down a woman’s throat, accompanied by a photo of him grinning as he moves in to grope her breasts while she sleeps. It’s disgusting. He treated a sleeping woman as a comedy prop, no more human than the contents of Carrot Top’s trunk, and I firmly believe he should suffer social and professional consequences for it.
She then goes on to explain how much better the Democratic Party is in its policies and agenda for the issues that she, as a feminist, believes is most important to women and reaches the conclusion that for the benefit of women and feminist issues, Franken should not resign:
In other words, if we set this precedent in the interest of demonstrating our party’s solidarity with harassed and abused women, we’re only going to drain the swamp of people who, however flawed, still regularly vote to protect women’s rights and freedoms. The legislative branch will remain chockablock with old, white Republican men who regard women chiefly as sex objects and unpaid housekeepers, and we’ll show them how staunchly Democrats oppose their misogynistic attitudes by handing them more power.
Isn’t that hypocritical? I hear you asking, Because Republicans won’t do the right thing, we shouldn’t, either? But if the short-term “right thing” leads to long-term political catastrophe for American women, I think we need to reconsider our definition of the right thing. I am in no way suggesting that we decline to hold Franken accountable for his offenses — only that we think in terms of consequences that might actually improve women’s lives going forward.
Harding finally explains the suitable “penance” and punishment Franken should undergo including an ethics investigation, a promise that he will not run again, a listening tour so he can hear from women who he must vow to “fight for” in his remaining years in office.
“After all that,” Harding writes, “I would like to see him support a qualified progressive woman, who will carry on that important work, to run for his seat.”
As so many progressive, social justice warriors in Washington DC and Manhattan read this and nod approvingly thinking that Harding is accurately reflecting the realpolitik of our times and articulating a reasonable reaction to this politically untenable situation for feminists as they confront one of their champions caught in the kind of behavior they march on college campuses to disavow, will they be as understanding when a conservative defends Roy Moore because he represents a vote in favor of their issues?
Considering a recent poll of women in America shows that a vast majority of them favor legislation restricting abortion, is it not reasonable for the women of Alabama to rationalize a vote for Moore because, although he may have behaved inappropriately, he will protect unborn lives by voting in their interests?
Of course. More important question: Will The Washington Post give any space to publish their opinion?
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.