Gail Collins (NY Times 12/9/17: The Great Al Franken Moment) A revolution in the making, is how she perceives Moore/Trump and the daily dose of leaders who have been found to have assaulted women. The sexual liberation movement that took place over 50 years ago shattered the rules and legislated sexual equality and affirmative action. Yet, remnants of sexism grew in dark corners not illuminated by moral outrage or even spoken of , until the “Me-to” movement of women, and a few men, used their voices to tell their truth. Women reported assaults withheld for years and sometimes decades, from men in powerful positions who exploited them sexually. Collins notes that until now, we had not faced the depth of trauma required for real change. Trauma that brings us up short. Trauma that demands a change of attitude and behaviors and the establishment of new rules. And now, here we are.
“This is our moment,” California Representative Jackie Spear said. Many feel this is a turn in the road that will splinter the facade of sexual equality revealing the potential for actual equality. Three congressmen, celebrities and corporate heads in several industries are all being called out and exiled from their source of power. There is recognition of the validity of the women reporting on inappropriate, in some cases assaultive behavior. Estelle Freedman, Stanford University Historian, emphasizes that it was Democratic Congressional women calling for Al Franken to resign. Freedman also emphasizes that it was women journalists who exposed Harvey Weinstein. Dr. Freedman provides the most in-depth research I could find for my book on the women’s movement, both as it happened and where it left us. “Earlier generations of American men cheerfully recast rape as seduction and sexual harrassment as mashing,” Freedman comments. A new ethos combined with the ascent of women into positions of power. The precipice we find ourselves on includes the realization of many men, witnessing that even for Senator Al Franken, a leader of social equality, the days of passing over sexual misconduct are in the past. Who did not feel the pain on Franken’s face as he dealt with the contradiction of who he thought he was, and how his behavior lined up behind the facts presented by his accusers.
Franken felt himself to be a leader of the social equality revolution. His fall brought pain to many who saw him squirm.
A revolution is still in the making. Women together have brought great change, and clearly are more empowered to speak than ever before. In January at the Women’s March of 2018 we will see each other from all over the country and in different parts of the world. Women will continue taking ownership of our intentions, our vision and our power for a socially just world that honors what we bring to life around us.