Al Franken Should Resign. So Should Donald Trump and Roy Moore.

News broke this week that Sen. Al Franken (Min-D) sexually harassed a sleeping female reporter on a flight 11 years ago. There are even pictures showing him mimicking groping her while she slept.

Since a certain segment of our population (Republicans, to be exact) seem to be struggling with this, let me show you how to respond.

I’m a liberal Democrat and I think Al Franken should step down. The people of Minnesota deserve a Senator who has not harassed or assaulted women; what he did was wrong and he should face serious consequences for it. That’s how we show future people inclined to commit these acts that they are inexcusable and intolerable.

Yes, I am aware this impacts Democrats’ chances of holding that seat in a special election next year. Yes, I understand this threatens to imperil Democrats in less safe seats who will be under scrutiny from Republicans who will be looking hard for this stuff to flip seats.

I don’t care. The dignity of women and their right to go about their lives without harassment is way more important than any electoral or political situation.

Al Franken should resign. Donald Trump should resign. Roy Moore should step down. Any future politician who implicated or seriously accused should leave office. Sexual assault is unacceptable and consequences should be serious. Politics be damned. Basic human decency is more important.


Welcoming the Stranger at Yale

This is what a Living Gospel looks like in today’s world:

Courtesy of Arnold Gold and Yale News

Three members of the Yale community — Reverend Robert Beloin, Reverend Karl Davis and history professor Jennifer Klein — were arrested on Monday for blocking the entrance to a courthouse in Hartford during a demonstration against the planned deportation of Franklin and Gioconda Ramos, undocumented immigrants facing imminent removal from the country.

Beloin, Davis and Klein were three of 36 people arrested for blocking the entrance to the courthouse. Beloin is Yale’s Roman Catholic chaplain and the chaplain of St. Thomas More Catholic Chapel and Center, while Davis is an assistant chaplain at STM. The arrests were first reported by the New Haven Register. Davis and Beloin are scheduled for an arraignment on October 11 in Hartford Community Court.

“I just find it morally appalling that we’re deporting hardworking people making a contribution to our society,” he told the News. “Pope Francis talks about going to the margins and accompanying people, and I can’t think of a way to go further to the margin and accompany people than to go to a protest and be arrested.”

Undocumented people across the country, in every state, county and town, are living in fear of exactly this: being uprooted from their home, taken away from their children, and sent to a country they once lived in. All because of a line on a map and arbitrary papers.

There is no better witness for the Christian community than to take the words of Jesus seriously about welcoming the stranger by finding out how we can help with undocumented people in our communities. Let the example of Beloin, Davis, and Klein be an example for us all.

You can find resources for action, call scripts, and information for getting in touch with local points of activism by checking out the Indivisible page on DACA.

Coates: “Trump’s Ideology is White Supremacy”

For your must-read list this week: Ta Nehisi Coates’ new piece at The Atlantic, entitled “The First White President.” Here is a taste:

It is often said that Trump has no real ideology, which is not true—his ideology is white supremacy, in all its truculent and sanctimonious power. Trump inaugurated his campaign by casting himself as the defender of white maidenhood against Mexican “rapists,” only to be later alleged by multiple accusers, and by his own proud words, to be a sexual violator himself. White supremacy has always had a perverse sexual tint. Trump’s rise was shepherded by Steve Bannon, a man who mocks his white male critics as “cucks.” The word, derived from cuckold, is specifically meant to debase by fear and fantasy—the target is so weak that he would submit to the humiliation of having his white wife lie with black men. That the slur cuck casts white men as victims aligns with the dicta of whiteness, which seek to alchemize one’s profligate sins into virtue. So it was with Virginia slaveholders claiming that Britain sought to make slaves of them. So it was with marauding Klansmen organized against alleged rapes and other outrages. So it was with a candidate who called for a foreign power to hack his opponent’s email and who now, as president, is claiming to be the victim of “the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history.”

In Trump, white supremacists see one of their own. Only grudgingly did Trump denounce the Ku Klux Klan and David Duke, one of its former grand wizards—and after the clashes between white supremacists and counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August, Duke in turn praised Trump’s contentious claim that “both sides” were responsible for the violence.

To Trump, whiteness is neither notional nor symbolic but is the very core of his power. In this, Trump is not singular. But whereas his forebears carried whiteness like an ancestral talisman, Trump cracked the glowing amulet open, releasing its eldritch energies. The repercussions are striking: Trump is the first president to have served in no public capacity before ascending to his perch. But more telling, Trump is also the first president to have publicly affirmed that his daughter is a “piece of ass.” The mind seizes trying to imagine a black man extolling the virtues of sexual assault on tape (“When you’re a star, they let you do it”), fending off multiple accusations of such assaults, immersed in multiple lawsuits for allegedly fraudulent business dealings, exhorting his followers to violence, and then strolling into the White House. But that is the point of white supremacy—to ensure that that which all others achieve with maximal effort, white people (particularly white men) achieve with minimal qualification. Barack Obama delivered to black people the hoary message that if they work twice as hard as white people, anything is possible. But Trump’s counter is persuasive: Work half as hard as black people, and even more is possible.

Really, if you aren’t reading everything Coates writes, you are missing out. He is the preeminent public voice in the United States.

Read the whole piece here.