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Senators were wrong to call for resignation

As of last Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, said he was not sure if he would resign amidst allegations of sexual harassment. As an initial allegation sparked more complaints, many of Franken’s colleagues and fellow party members called for him to resign.
A handful of women came forward with allegations, the most damning of which was supported by a photograph of Franken’s hands hovering close to a co-worker’s bosom as she slept during a USO tour when Franken was still making his living as a comedian.
After that picture came forward, Franken said he would welcome an ethics inquiry from his colleagues in the Senate. That inquiry never gained any steam amidst the increasing number of calls that he resign.
The allegations sparked a wide-ranging discussion, from what constitutes sexual harassment (are hovering hands as bad as actually touching?) to whether the allegations, however based in reality they may or may not be, were politically motivated.
Fellow Senate Democrats, mostly women, provided the most pressure for Franken’s resignation. Their motives, it seems, was a combination of condemning sexual harassment and trying to prove that Democrats are willing to take the “high road.”
Of all the opinions that have been offered surrounding Franken’s troubles, the one that resonated most with us is that of former Gov. Arne Carlson — Franken should have been afforded due process. The ethics inquiry should have taken place.
It’s troubling how willing, even eager, society has become to jump from allegations to convictions, whether that involves police officer-involved shootings or allegations against senators, businessmen or even presidents.
One of the founding principles of our country is that of due process.
Had the ethics inquiry process played out, Franken may well have been asked to resign. That’s fine. At least he would have had the privilege —no, the right — of due process. And we may have all been better educated about sexual harassment and its consequences as a result.
And although Franken’s partner in the Senate, Amy Klobuchar, was not among those who called for his resignation, she said later that it was “the right decision.”
It’s disappointing that a former attorney and prosecutor would try to leap over due process. While she rightly deplores sexual harassment, she also should be a defender of due process.
Let’s hope this trend of jumping to the conviction before the trial is stemmed soon. It is causing more harm than good.
— L.C.