12/13/17 AL Franken, ALabama, and Fainting Goats

I never cared much for Al Franken as a SNL Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time player or writer. His comedy was not my cup of tea. Not to worry, though, many iterations of SNL comedic teams and writers escaped me. I grew up with SNL but lost interest after the original cast moved on to other things. I did think Eddie Murphy, Chris Farley, Chris Kattan, and Adam Sandler and his funny songs were brilliant, at times. Who doesn’t think Eddie Murphy is funny?

While I did not admire Al Franken as a comedic actor, nor do I particularly admire him as a United States Senator from Minnesota, the decision to send him to the Senate was absolutely not mine to make; that distinction belonged to the people of the State of Minnesota. For all I know, the people of the State of Minnesota may have chosen to send him to the Senate again, in spite of his alleged sexual harassments, for which he never completely apologized, though he seemed sorry for the nothing he did wrong. Why did he resign? Did he think it was an honorable thing to do? Did someone persuade him he should? Did someone have some more egregious dirt on him and force him to resign through extortion? Why was his apology not really an apology, but defiant in tone? Does one defy by resignation?

As it is, Franken never was the real target. Neither was John Conyers. They were fainting goats, sacrificed by their Democrat colleagues to be able to “ethically” go after their real target, Donald Trump. No sooner than Franken resigned, Trump’s sexual harassment/assault accusers were immediately resurrected and paraded around in a manner similar to the way Teacher’s union representatives claim that everything they ask for themselves is “for the children”. Hmmmm! There is a goat amongst the sheep.

It was once a good thing to have a fainting goat amongst your sheep. When the wolves attacked, the goat would simply faint, presenting itself as an easy meal for the predators while the sheep managed to make good their getaway. Sheep have never been accused of being very smart, but they are far less easy to be made a meal of than a fainting goat. At one time, fainting goats were not worth very much, other than their sacrificial value as juxtaposed to the real value of sheep, but nowadays they are quite an expensive novelty.

So, Al Franken, not being required by any legality to resign, doing the “honorable” thing, resigned without the benefit of any paltry legalities. He fainted as soon as he saw the wolves. Were I he, I would have let the folks in Minnesota go through all the motions of a recall, particularly for any things that happened before he was an elected official, and things for which the statute of limitations prohibited prosecution, if indeed any of the things he did were criminal and there were enough evidence for an indictment. The goat fainted.

Now, Alabama gets to decide who their next Senator will be. Fortunately for me, I do not have to make this decision, since I am not an Alabamian. The citizens of Alabama will go to the polls and vote for Roy Moore, Doug Jones, or write in the candidate of their choice. Many, I expect, will stay home, though there are a determined lot that are bound to show folks that they can and will vote for whomever they please.

Granted: Roy Moore is beyond controversial. He was controversial as the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. He is still controversial. If he is elected, the Senate may have a hard time refusing to seat him. Alabama gets to decide who their Senator will be. Yes, there are rules about whom the Senate can seat or not seat, or expel, but those rules have not been fully tested in court. The 17th amendment spells out how one becomes a United States Senator. No where in it does it say that the person chosen by the electors of their state have to pass muster with any Senate ethics committee. Yes, the Senate’s rules say they can expel someone, but the Senate’s rules do not supersede the constitution. If the Senate then decries judicial interference in the legislative branch, then by what right will the legislative branch and their appointed special prosecutor have to claim any obstruction of justice over Donald Trump’s firing of James Comey? It is the President’s prerogative and privilege to fire any department head or political appointee whose term was not proscribed by law. If he chooses, the President can declare that he is going to pardon anyone of any charges the Justice Department may bring against them. It is his right as president.

Roy Moore seems to deserve all the scrutiny he is getting, but not necessarily all the opprobrium. One of his accusers has admitted to forging part of the evidence that she offered as proof of Moore’s predatory sexual behavior. Maybe Moore needs a fainting goat.

There sure is a whole lot of smoke for there to be no fire. One wonders, though, just how did Roy Moore get to be the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, twice, when so many could have come forward and accused him of inappropriate behavior? Moore was removed from the bench, twice, when he ran afoul of Federal courts over his refusal to remove his Ten Commandments statue from his courtroom, and his refusal to stop opening his court with prayer. I am all for the Ten Commandments, but I can live with leaving out a statue inside a courtroom, which does not change the Ten Commandments and what they represent the least little bit. He also ran afoul of the Supreme Court when he claimed to have the right to nullify the Obergfell decision in Alabama, considering it an overreach of Federal authority into state autonomy. He is confrontationally controversial. He is belligerently controversial. He may even be a boor. He may also be all of those things as Alabama’s next Senator. He may also disappear into the sunset.

I’ve held my nose and voted more than I ever wanted or expected. I expect you have, too. I’m glad I don’t have to hold my nose tomorrow. I don’t like having to hold my nose to vote. Tomorrow’s election will be decided without any input from me. It will be decided by the folks in Alabama. I hope they vote their conscience. I hope they elect the best man. I hope the Senate seats whomever they choose. I think Al Franken was too hasty. I think John Conyers is simply old and perhaps as senile as Mississippi’s Thad Cochran (R-MS) seems to be. I think being in congress, in any branch, for more than forty years is too much. I think Trump is due for a rough ride from “ethical” democrats who said nothing about Bill Clinton. I think Trump will thumb his nose at them, since all any convened “ethics panel” can do is to vote to censure him, unless they choose to bring impeachment articles against him, which they would certainly do if they thought they had the votes in congress, simply because he is not Hillary Clinton. I think the same folks who refused and still refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of his election, and always called for his removal as “unfit for office” (just what does that mean?) want to impeach him. Maxine Waters has relentlessly called for his impeachment since he got elected, which seems to be the only way she can get any press, and it sure seems to me that press is what she is after.

I think sexual harassment in the workplace is one thing, since it is illegal, and claims of sexual impropriety in the public at large is conflating boorish behavior with sexual assault, which are entirely different things. Being a boor is not illegal; sexual assault is. Men are all cretins is the underlying theme of all of this. It is bad form these days to be white, heterosexual, Southern, Evangelical, pro-life, conservative, and male. You can pick any order of bad-formity you choose based on the meme of the week, but the meme in general has run pretty consistent for several years. African-American-Evangelical-Males…you are guilty. Female-Evangelical-conservatives…..you are guilty. African-American-Female-Christians….guilty. Hell, at some point, all of us are guilty, according to those who constantly tell us how we should think, how we should act, and what nouns and adjectives we should use and not use, and what pronouns may be required or prohibited under penalty of law or academic expulsion. I suppose the adjective restrictions is why Trump limits himself to “yuge”, “tremendous”, and “very”. He says “very” a lot. I’d prefer some more colorful adjectives be rotated in and out of his vocabulary. I hope his people are working on that. He should have read more Mark Twain to have had a broader palette of colorful adjectives; but I am gratuitously mixing metaphors.

And Jerusalem as the new home of the American Embassy? Well, Trump is carrying out a campaign promise he made, and complying with legislation that was duly passed (though waived by subsequent presidents) by the United Stated Congress in 1995 and signed into law by then President William Jefferson Clinton. (See Jerusalem Embassy Act) And all of Islam is pissed off about it. Please, someone, tell me just what is it that Islam is NOT pissed off about? Islam and Gloria Allred seem to have a few things in common. I’ll let you decide what they are for yourself, but as I type this several come to mind.

As an aside, what is it with legislation that is passed but can be waived? It seems like buck passing to me: political posturing without having to face the consequences, akin to congress voting to establish entire bureaucracies allowing the executive to “promulgate regulations”, or to make laws, which is the sole province of the legislative branch. It is the abdication of constitutional authority. The first and foremost goal of congress is to spend more money. The second is to make sure it looks good in an election year. Beyond that, they seem to be having a fine time up there in Washington enjoying the perks of office.

Good luck, Alabama. Good luck, Nation. Good luck, Al Franken. Good luck, John Conyers. Good luck, Donald Trump. Good luck, all of Islam. Good luck, Jerusalem. Good luck, Israel. Good luck, white-male-evangelical-christian-conservatives. Good luck, progressive-liberal-socialists. Good luck, heterosexuals. Good luck, all you cisgendered. Good luck, LGBTQQFICAFIFOLIFODEQIRAUSSR and whatever other orientations and genders, or anticipated orientations and genders, or yet-to-be-determined orientations and genders there are out there; you’ll pardon me if I am not familiar with all of you; it is rather confusing to me, but I’ll admit that my confusion is a paltry farthing compared to the genuine confusion some face. Good Luck, Gloria Allred. Good luck, accusers and accusees. Good luck, Maxine Waters. Good luck, Mitch McConnel. Good luck, Nancy Pelosi. Good luck, Chuck Schumer. Good luck, all of burning California.

Good luck, to all the mass of humanity that inhabits this earth together, struggling to make some kind of sense out of the utterly absurd as we strive for our daily bread and the dignity we all deserve in our lives, and more importantly, the dignity and respect we owe to each other….may we all learn to get along. Good luck with that!!

Good luck, fainting goats.

Lord knows we need all the luck we can get. A bit of wisdom spread around couldn’t hurt, either.

May we all inherit the redemption we so desperately need, but aren’t worthy of. May we all have a fainting goat when the wolves get after us.

Update: Apparently Al Franken has announced he will be resigning, but has set no specific effective date for his resignation. Technically, he has not resigned his Senate seat. Mea culpa. The longer he waits, I think the less likely he is to actually resign.

Update 11:05CST 12/12/17: Congratulations Doug Jones on winning Alabama’s Senate race. May you serve the people of Alabama and the nation with integrity and vision and never be or need a fainting goat. I’m sure glad I didn’t have to vote in that election. Now, perhaps, people can see why Luther Strange got the initial nod from the President; one must select a primary candidate that can actually win the election. I can think of few candidates who brought more baggage with them than Roy Moore, except for maybe HRC. And…This Republican thinks Steve Bannon is just about the most obstreperous politico I have ever seen. I used to enjoy reading Breitbart until Trump won…now it’s way over the top for even me. Don’t worry….I enjoy Politico and Real Clear Politics, too, and occasionally Huffington Post. I already know what I think, which is why, though I don’t enjoy them, I also read Slate and Mother Jones.

©2017 Mississippi Chris Sharp

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