BELL VIEW-I’m confused. I don’t know what to do anymore. I can’t keep up. For years, I’ve been advocating strategic thinking when it comes to elections. Hillary Clinton is better than Donald Trump – yes? Sure, she voted for the Iraq War. And sure, she was smart enough to know better. But she had a political future to think of. And – yeah – Bill Clinton had sex with an intern (an intern) when he was President of the United States – but he was so good at getting under the skin of Republicans, and, you know, winning elections.
I need something to hold on to. Something real. Donald Trump has told something like 1600 verifiable lies since his inauguration – but the nonsense is coming in from all directions.
Roy Moore has compounded his child molestation with slander. And, although preying on fourteen-year-old girls didn’t make it onto the Top Ten List, bearing false witness against your neighbor is right there at number 9. One of the many differences between Roy Moore and Garrison Keillor is that Moore is most likely going to get that big promotion.
Al Franken – faced with multiple accusations of butt-grabbing during photo shoots – has taken what, on the surface, appears to be a different approach from Roy Moore. Moore categorically denies the overwhelming evidence against him – and his followers claim to believe him. But they don’t really. They just don’t care. Had Roy Moore molested boys instead of girls, there’s no doubt he’d be looking for a new line of work. Franken has decided to apologize for everything – while conveniently forgetting to remember if any of it happened.
Franken says: "I take a lot of pictures in Minnesota, thousands of pictures -- maybe tens of thousands of pictures -- so these are instances that I do not remember…. From these stories, it's been clear that there are some women -- and one is too many -- who feel that I have done something disrespectful, and that's hurt them, and for that I am tremendously sorry."
Hmmm. Not being the type of person with whom ordinary people clamor to take selfies, I can’t vouch for what it must be like to take tens of thousands of pictures. But I’m pretty sure I’d remember cupping a stranger’s butt.
Contrast Franken’s apology for something that maybe didn’t happen with Garrison Keillor’s statement: "I meant to pat her back after she told me about her unhappiness, and her shirt was open and my hand went up it about six inches. She recoiled. I apologized. I sent her an email of apology later and she replied that she had forgiven me and not to think about it. We were friends. We continued to be friendly right up until her lawyer called."
There’s a specificity about Keillor’s statement that sounds like the truth. Oddly, Garrison Keillor penned an Op Ed in the Washington Post yesterday saying that Franken should not be forced to resign because of the allegations against him.
I’m not so sure. I think at least we ought to be able to get the truth out of someone accused of groping strange women before he’s allowed to serve out his term in the Senate. If it happened, apologize (and resign). If it didn’t happen – say it didn’t happen and face the music.
Of course, none of this applies if you’re a Republican. Clarence Thomas proved that denial and bald-faced lying is the road to success in the modern Republican Party. Donald Trump and Roy Moore have simply upped Justice Thomas’s game.
(David Bell is a writer, attorney, former president of the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council and writes for CityWatch.) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.-cw