Journal: Al Franken Speaks

Al Franken last night, at the Paramount Theater in Seattle… Not only heartening to hear a political speaker making sense, but to see the enthusiasm for him and the size of his audience was also very encouraging.

I particularly like his suggestion that they should give Trump the nuclear codes–but change them, first. Then after he pushes all the buttons, hurry him down to the bomb shelter and leave him there for a while. There was more, but that was the main point.

Not surprisingly, there were a few protesters outside the theater, and a short gauntlet of tv cameras. 

Personally, I see quite a gap on the continuum between bad taste and boorishness, and criminality. And I am very glad no one is interested in exposing my youthful stupidities, as I am sure many of us are. 

Franken’s blindness to ‘making anyone uncomfortable’ is hardly to his credit, and typical of his generation–which is also mine, by the way. Many things have been scrutinized with more sensitivity, and sense, in fact, since the 50s.

Back then, drinking and driving was no big deal, and public intoxication was played for laughs. Spousal abuse was clucked at and socially despised, but not considered within the realm of community business. Children had no defense from the community for abuse, either. And patting women inapropriately was… not admirable, but part of social “normal.” And Franken was a joker which gave him more social leeway to be occasionally and opportunely outrageous. 

We have learned over years, and have changed the norms by which we define acceptibility. Some of us who were raised with other established notions have kept up with the changes, even welcomed them and worked towards them. Others–not so much. 

But there is still a wide range on that spectrum between “inappropriate” and “criminal.” The center of that spectrum also has shifted considerably, that line drawn between acceptible and unacceptible. This is how community consciousness improves, and how new generations are taught to be better than those that came before.

Franken did not speak to this last night, but he did open with a few words acknowledging the situation and his own personal responsibility.

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