The Democratic Party is once again proving that integrity matters. In recent days, the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, has had too very credible charges of sexual harassment levied against him. Couple that with the looming Covid-19 nursing home scandal involving the hiding of data on the numbers of deaths, his other foot just needs to slip on the banana peel. How dare I see this as a Democratic strength, you are saying to yourselves. The Democratic mantra has been to ‘believe women.’ The party has backed it up for years, before #me too.
Eliot Spitzer had been a stalwart fighter for justice as New York’s Attorney General from 1999 to 2006 and earned the nickname ‘Sheriff of Wall Street’ for rooting out white-collar corruption. In March of 2008, the then Governor Spitzer was found to be using an escort/prostitution service called the Empire Club VIP. He resigned after serving two years as the state’s Governor. Former SNL writer/ performer Al Franken went on to become the Senator from Minnesota. Franken was a staunch supporter of human rights and worker rights. His liberal views often made him the target of the conservative destruction machine, which, for me, was enough to validate his progressive bona fides.
Franken was forced to resign after a scandal involving a picture that was published of him making a sexual gesture [not touching] toward a sleeping female performer long before he was in government and when he was still a comic; as a side note, the photo was taken while he was on a flight to entertain the troops. Mr. Franken resigned at the beginning of 2018. What these three men have in common was sexual scandal both definitive and speculative, but what they also had in common was a party standard that demanded satisfaction.
Oh sure, Republicans beat the drums of discontent and invented trolling but their interest was purely political. The integral forces of party leadership forced out Spitzer and Franken and Gov. Cuomo will probably suffer the same fate. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) who in November of 2017 said Bill Clinton should have resigned, was front and center leading the eventual ouster of Franken a few months later. After a few days of reflection, and undoubtedly still smarting from the Franken incident, Gillibrand released a statement, along with a host of New York State Democrats, yesterday calling for an investigation of Cuomo.
Seldom do Democrats give the shoulder shrug or make endless excuses like Republicans who dole them out like bonbons. A wide stance in a public bathroom, locker room talk, blaming it on PJ and Squi or belittling countless numbers of women who are all made out to be either liars or unworthy of attention or harassment.
My point is not to sponsor telethons or make demands that these men be given a “break,” ala Nikki Haley, but that the Democratic party stands for something besides lip-service to the rights of women. Sure, some may see these men as victims, especially Mr. Franken but I am not commenting on their morality or lack of judgment the jury of public opinion has spoken. All decisions are not the correct ones, but the only people who do not make mistakes are the people who do nothing. When it comes to the harassment of women Democrats are willing to call out their own, while Republicans cry foul.
Continue to Vote for Change.