What is more obscene? Failure to renew the CHIP legislation, leaving children without health care? Allowing hunters to bring ivory into the U.S., which will encourage the destruction of the elephant species? A tax bill that will leave future generations with soaring deficits on the backs of the middle class? Rolling back environmental protections? Continued attempts to take health care away? Disguised attempts to defund Medicaid and Medicare? Making nice with Vladimir Putin? Or almost groping someone who is using this incident for monetary and political gain?
I’m just not sure, but I don’t believe having U.S. Sen. Al Franken step down is the right “punishment.” A sincere apology, which he has given, and moving on makes way more sense, admonishing him to continue to fight for justice against the present administration.
Karen J. Storm, Minneapolis
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I think Franken needs to resign. I am a lifelong Democrat, so this is not easy to say. I do think he is in a unique position where he can make a huge difference in the political discourse on sexual harassment.
Natalie Bonfig, Maplewood
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Taking responsibility for one’s actions is a mark of honesty and willingness to change. A true amend is a change in behavior. Al Franken has changed his behavior, and his apology for past indiscretions is true and sincere. If that weren’t the case, he wouldn’t submit to an investigation. As a member of the Senate, he has sought and helped to pass vital legislation. Forgiveness is in order. He has already condemned himself. In a court of law, every case is different. We need to put his work and his deeds into context.
Carolyn Light Bell, Minneapolis
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I did not vote for Al Franken and never admired the senator. However, I do respect his attempt to admit and apologize for his misbehavior. Perhaps we all should step back and consider the episode as stated in the Christian gospel message: Christ addressed the angry punishing crowd who were about to stone an adulterous woman. He stated: “The one who is without sin is the one who should cast the first stone.”
Stanley Kondziolka, Minneapolis
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If Franken survives this, and then somehow gets re-elected in the next election cycle, the hypocrisy and vulgarity of the DFL and liberal politics will be exposed for all to see.
D.A. Peterson, Big Lake, Minn.
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For Donald Trump, given his own miserable record with women to fire pot shots at Al Franken, takes enough gall to fill all three parts of Gaul.
Richard A. Virden, Plymouth
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OK, women; maybe it is up to us to “drain the swamp.” If my hero, Sen. Al Franken, can be felled by his sexual misconduct, how many others are out there? He is sure to be only the tip of the iceberg. If we threw open the doors to the closets of all our politicians and shined a bright light inside, how many would contain the skeletons and bones of abusive actions toward girls and women of all ages? Women like Leigh Corfman, Tina Johnson, Wendy Miller, Debbie Wesson Gibson, Gloria Thacker Deason, Kelly Harrison Thorp and Beverly Young Nelson; or like Cathy Heller, Jill Harth, Temple Taggart, Cassandra Searles, Jessica Leeds, Kristin Anderson, Lisa Boyne, Karena Virginia, Mindy McGillivray, Rachel Crooks, Natasha Stoynoff, Jessica Drake, Ninni Laaksonen, Samantha Holey, Tasha Dixon and Summer Zervos, (remember them?); or local women like Erin Maye Quade and Lindsey Port have all risked their reputations by naming names. Most have been accused of lying and of politicizing their victimization. Yet, each time a woman comes forward, it empowers another and another. Last month, women by the thousands responded “me too” on Facebook. And now some are taking the next step, the most difficult step, of going public with the identities of their abusers. They now hold the power. Our politicians, both local and national, should be afraid — very afraid. The swamp just might be drained, yet.
Kathryn Laakso, St. Cloud
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Most of the choices we face in life are not clearly between good and evil, between black and white. Instead, most of our choices are gray and made between the lesser of two evils or the greater of two goods. The Franken-Leeann Tweeden story is an example.
I support Al Franken as my U.S. senator.
In making this choice I do not diminish the evil he has done to Ms. Tweeden. Rather, I must balance that against the good he has done in the intervening years, the good he does every day, and the good I hope he will continue to do in fighting against bad public policies and officials and in supporting public policies I believe will continue to make America a great and compassionate nation.
Mr. Franken has apologized. The apology has been accepted. The same cannot be said for many other people in U.S. politics.
Patricia M. Conley, St. Paul
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Al Franken being inappropriate with one woman.
Republican Party promoting a tax plan that will be really bad for most of the people in the country.
Let us keep a reasonable perspective. Franken’s bad behavior is a distraction. The Republican tax “reform” is bad, bad, bad!
Focus on the more important issue.
Mark Brakke, Coon Rapids
REPUBLICAN TAX PLAN
Been there, done that
Big tax cuts, flash-in-the-pan prosperity, any-war-will-do, bad recession, Democrat-led recovery: This will be the third time I’ve seen and lived through this pattern since 1980. I’d say it’s built on the buy-low (after a recession), sell-high (after the recovery) paradigm.
Hold in mind that the stock market’s been at record highs since the recovery that began in 2009. Current Republicans want to have an estate tax elimination so they and their kids/grandkids are taken care of after any negatives to come. They’re also instituting a $1.5 trillion dollar deficit with all the tax cuts. Thus, they’ll sell high after the flash (and a war if economically needed), which lays the groundwork for a recession and buy-low opportunities, and the next cycle. The gaping deficit will give them a chance to slash entitlements.
So look to middle-/working-class kids/grandkids having to lose any inheritances because of paying for granny alone plus fixing up the mess we’ll be getting into.
Ultimately, we’ll need election reform before we have a steady economy that’s better for the vast majority of families.
Diane Steen-Hinderlie, St. Louis Park
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The same Republicans who say that they will never raise taxes will quietly let your tax cuts expire in 10 years, which will effectively raise your taxes. You can bet, though, that they will go to their deathbeds if anyone suggests raising the corporate tax rate when we find out what economists already know — that none of their tax breaks are trickling down.
Bill Bloomberg, Eden Prairie
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From the looks of the tax “reform” bill that just passed the House, the Republican fiscal conservative is well on the way to the list of extinct species, along with the passenger pigeon, the great auk and the dodo.
Eric Hammar, Mankato
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During a CNN interview, U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Penn., said in reference to the GOP’s new tax bill and its lowering of the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent: “It’s time that the United States joined the rest of the developed world in regard to corporate tax rates.”
Fair enough. May I also suggest that it’s time for the United States to join the rest of the developed world in regard to health care?
Douglas Broad, St. Louis Park