This morning’s address from the floor of the US Senate was difficult for Minnesotans who have been fans of Senator Al Franken to hear. The decision he arrived at, to resign his office, was the right one for Minnesota. His years of hard work on behalf of Minnesotans, his leadership on issues such as education, privacy, mental health, and healthcare are sincerely appreciated and should not be forgotten.
Even in light of that exemplary service, we also cannot forget that power has been and continues to be abused. In all contexts. By those who are widely known and even more who do not gain much attention in the rest of the world. There are sickeningly proud admissions by those in greater power than Senator Franken that should yield consequences. I know I am not alone when I shake my head in disbelief over this juxtaposition.
Power gained through the subjugation and harm to others is not legitimate. It is not earned and is nowhere near sacred. As more and more brave people step into the light and share their truths, more and more people in power are revealed as little more than masks, hollow shells waiting to be filled with insincerity.
We cannot close our eyes. To racism, sexism, all the other isms that may not be headline-worthy but exist. And are worth seeing the light of day, and acknowledged.
At the same time, this is not a blind trust of all accusers – a presumption of guilt until proven innocent. That shifts the sense of power too far to one side. Balance is what we deserve. We owe our future the due process to fully understand these abuses and do right by that knowledge.
When power is abused, no one wins. Our shared experiences mean we entrust our fellow humans with the power to do good by all to advance our society.