That said, we don't know the truth: If you've never grabbed a person's keister, it isn't real hard to say that.
If you've never cupped a woman's breast, it's easy to say that too.
We don't know what actually happened, or didn't happen, in the now-famous cases involving Al Franken. We do know slippery language when we see it—for instance, when we see this:
FRANKEN (12/7/17): Some of the allegations against me are simply not true. Others, I remember very differently. I said at the outset that the ethics committee was the right venue for these allegations to be heard and investigated and evaluated on their merits, that I was prepared to cooperate fully and that I was confident in the outcome.Uh-oh! The highlighted statement leaves open a third possibility:
"Some of the allegations against me are in fact perfectly true."
Some people may have missed the fact that Franken left open that third possibility. But as he continued, so did the slippery language. To watch the full statement, click this:
FRANKEN (continuing directly): You know an important part of the conversation we've been having the last few months has been about how men abuse their power and privilege to hurt women. I am proud that during my time in the Senate I have used my power to be a champion of women. And that I have earned a reputation as someone who respects the women I work alongside everyday. I know there's been a very different picture of me painted over the last few weeks, but I know who I really am.Uh-oh! "I know who I really am" doesn't speak to the question of what you might really have done in the instances being alleged.
FRANKEN (continuing directly): Serving in the United States Senate has been the great honor of my life. I know in my heart that nothing I have done as a senator—nothing—has brought dishonor on this institution, and I am confident that the ethics committee would agree.He knows in his heart that nothing he has done as a senator has brought dishonor on the institution? We're prepared to assume that's true. But uh-oh! [All but two of t]he allegations concern alleged conduct when he wasn't a senator. Meanwhile, did any of the alleged incidents involve conduct "as" a senator?
Nevertheless, today I am announcing that in the coming weeks I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate.
We don't know what Franken did or didn't do. We're appalled by Senator Gillibrand's transparent conduct a great deal more. We think the insistence that he quickly resign was just the latest stampede among a set of elites who truly seem to know no other mode of conduct.
Having said that, let us also say this. We think the country can survive many types of misconduct more easily than it can survive the constant, unending, slippery language which is directed at regular people by our big major potent thought leaders.
We've always thought Franken was very smart. Smart people know how to evade—how to treat regular people like a ship of fools.
We don't know what actually happened in the cases under review. We actually do know how to read English. As Senator Ervin once observed, it's our mother tongue.