An Open Letter to Senator Franken

CC: Democratic Senators, Tom Perez, Keith Ellison, and the DNC

Since I published this letter this morning, Senator Franken has announced he will resign. An epilogue follows the original letter addressing this development.

Dear Senator Franken -

Do not step down. Any elected accused of improper behavior — including you — should face an ethics investigation. On behalf of your constituents you must demand there be some semblance of due process. Allowing the Democratic Party to force you out is a very dangerous precedent. We need a hearing and an investigation — and THEN the proper steps can be taken.

I am furious that the Democratic party is proceeding with no input from your constituents. I am angry they think they are both judge and jury.

Photo by Lorie Shaull

It’s beyond ironic that you — the one man who has apologized and tried to do the right thing — is getting treated this way by his colleagues while the President remains unapologetic about his behavior and Roy Moore continues to deny wrongdoing despite all evidence to the contrary. Am I the only one who sees this is a slippery slope? After this what is the incentive to own up and apologize? What is the role of reconciliation and restorative justice if you are then tried in the court of political expediency and public opinion?

For me, for #MeToo, and for your constituents, please demand due process and do not step down. Stand accountable, stand by your apology, and proceed with an ethics investigation — and then demand the same from all who have been accused.

Camille J. Gage, Minneapolis, MN

Since I published this story this morning, Senator Franken has resigned. The saddest thing about his resignation today is that the process was so undemocratic. No investigation, no Ethics Panel, no hearing from the accusers, no giving the accused an opportunity to defend himself. We need a PROCESS that we demand ALL of the accused submit to. Believing women does not mean discarding any kind of meaningful investigative process. In fact the opposite is true: believing women and demanding a full and transparent process and investigation is exactly what might create deep, long term, cultural and systems change.

The Democratic Party has squandered what could have been an excellent opportunity to call all of the accused to account and demand they sit before an Ethics Panel and allow a full and transparent process to proceed.