Favorite

Outraged 

In last week's column, Gene Lyons asks the question, "How low will a columnist go?" before he insults the integrity of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), sympathizes with a man whose wife won't let him paw her in public, and equates Sen. Al Franken's alleged groping of women during photo ops as mere "insults." All while minimizing and dismissing the voices and experiences of the women he mentions.

After yet another woman accused Franken of inappropriate touching, Gillibrand called for the Minnesota Democrat to resign. Lyons implies Gillibrand is somehow unfit to question another's ethics because she represented Philip Morris, a tobacco company. Nonsense. I go to court week after week and represent men and women charged with rape, murder, DWI, theft and domestic violence. Some are guilty. Some are innocent. I don't do it because I support rape, murder, drunk driving, theft or battery. I do it because I support the U.S. Constitution. Attorneys are not their clients and zealously representing unpopular ones does not make us compromised about "means and ends." This smear is as unfair now just as it was when used to discredit Hillary Clinton.

Lyons references accusations made by former congressional staffer Tina Dupuy, who describes Franken as "grabbing a handful of flesh" at her waist and squeezing a couple of times during a photo op. Sounds similar to the accounts of the other women who accused Franken of grabbing their buttocks or breasts. Dupuy points out how demoralizing it is to be minimized down to body parts, and for that reason does not allow her husband to touch her that way in public. Instead of speaking up for Dupuy's right to body autonomy, Lyons expresses sympathy for her husband seemingly because the man is not allowed to get handsy with his wife in the company of others.

"Getting patted on the posterior." That's what Lyons calls what happened to Franken's accusers. Lyons claims Franken's actions are merely "insults" instead of an "outrage." No, Mr. Lyons, calling someone "fat" is an insult. Calling someone "stupid" is an insult. Molesting a woman on her rear end or on her breast without permission is an outrage. We spend our lives trying to deflect off-color jokes, unwanted advances, hugs that go on a bit too long, and men who just won't take no for an answer. We are way past being insulted. We are outraged.

Look, I know Franken was adored by many on the left. I liked the guy. I thought he honestly cared. I believe we should be wary of false accusations because they absolutely happen. However, the pattern of credible complaints against Franken means he has to go. I agree it's not fair that Trump remains while Franken steps down, but, as I was always taught, two wrongs don't make a right. If Democrats want Franken to stay in the Senate because he is a "good guy" despite his assaults on women, then they are falling into the same "imperfect vessel" trap many evangelicals use to justify support of Trump. And to those who argue it benefits Gillibrand to have Franken out, my response is that she still did the right thing by joining the chorus of those calling for his resignation. Franken, not Gillibrand, is the political opportunist. He used his fame and office to cop cheap feels on unsuspecting women.

I disagree with Lyons that this will drive Democrats away. The majority of progressives I know, especially women, believe Franken's behavior has no business in the Senate or in any workplace. Women want to be recognized for our accomplishments at work. We want to walk down the street and not be catcalled. We want to run for office and not have all the focus on our outfits and hairstyles. We want to stand next to our elected officials for a photo without being felt up. We want to be able to speak out against harassers without being accused of having ulterior motives. And we want a political party that will stand up for us every step of the way, even against a party darling. Is that really too much to ask? If some Democrats would rather protect Franken than stand up against harassment, then they better get ready for pushback, because we are over it. Completely.


Favorite

Sign up for the Daily Update email

Comments (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

More by Autumn Tolbert

  • Trade places

    I confess that over the years I've wished a fall from grace upon a number of people. I've come to call it the "Trading Places Award." The recipient is someone who has shown no compassion or empathy for someone else in a tough situation.
    • May 24, 2018
  • Bad law

    Ideally, every addict would have free access to excellent inpatient treatment immediately and could obtain leave from work and financial obligations so they could take advantage of that opportunity. But that isn't the reality of the world we live in here in Arkansas.
    • May 17, 2018
  • 40 days of action

    The news of the goings-on in D.C. is almost too much to handle. A steady stream of unqualified and shortsighted men and women rotate in and out of high-level government positions.
    • May 3, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Wrasslin' Trump

    I first thought the Sunday morning video clip of President Trump wrestling was something from one of the many parody accounts on Twitter.
    • Jul 6, 2017
  • Another Jesus

    If you follow the logic of Jason Rapert and his supporters, God is very pleased so many have donated money to rebuild a giant stone slab with some rules on it. A few minutes on Rapert's Facebook page (if he hasn't blocked you yet) also shows his supporters believe that Jesus wants us to lock up more people in prison, close our borders to those in need and let poor Americans fend for themselves for food and health care.
    • Jul 20, 2017
  • A fresh start

    For much of my adult life, I've tried to eat black-eyed peas and greens every New Year's Day, worrying that if I didn't, the year would be just awful. I've made resolutions. I've sworn off fast food. I've pledged to go to the gym three times a week.
    • Jan 4, 2018

Latest in Autumn Tolbert

  • Trade places

    I confess that over the years I've wished a fall from grace upon a number of people. I've come to call it the "Trading Places Award." The recipient is someone who has shown no compassion or empathy for someone else in a tough situation.
    • May 24, 2018
  • Bad law

    Ideally, every addict would have free access to excellent inpatient treatment immediately and could obtain leave from work and financial obligations so they could take advantage of that opportunity. But that isn't the reality of the world we live in here in Arkansas.
    • May 17, 2018
  • 40 days of action

    The news of the goings-on in D.C. is almost too much to handle. A steady stream of unqualified and shortsighted men and women rotate in and out of high-level government positions.
    • May 3, 2018
  • More »

Most Viewed

  • Trade places

    I confess that over the years I've wished a fall from grace upon a number of people. I've come to call it the "Trading Places Award." The recipient is someone who has shown no compassion or empathy for someone else in a tough situation.
  • Like wrestling

    So what's it going to be, America: a democratic republic, or Trumpistan? A nation governed by the rule of law, or an oversized kleptocracy, whose maximum leader uses the decayed shell of government to punish his political enemies and reward friends and family?
  • Now, the main event

    I write Tuesday morning, before polls close on primary and judicial election contests.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Like wrestling

    • Great reminder/summary. So much happens in Trumpistan that last week's news seems like months ago…

    • on May 23, 2018
  • Re: Talking baseball

    • I loved Bill Elder "calling" the Travs games on the road. He did it by…

    • on May 22, 2018
  • Re: Talking baseball

    • 1090 was Little Rock's own Mighty 1090 KAAY, the greatest radio station ever. But i…

    • on May 22, 2018
 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation