Grappling with gropers

I just learned of Al Franken’s resignation from the senate over allegations of past groping incidents of women. He’s one of dozens of men who have been accused and suffered some social consequence as a result of past instances of physical assault of another human.

I’m greatly discouraged. I thought for a while that Franken was our great political progressive hope. Turns out he has the same nasty habit that so many other venal men exibit.

This is a behavior I can’t relate to. That you feel you have a right to paw, grope, touch, manhandle another person willy-nilly without their permission is a very foreign concept to me. How does anyone just touch and grab another person because of some impulse. Is it a sense of absolute power over another that makes one feel impervious to acknowledging boundaries with another? Even in my most intimate moments with another, I’ve never dared to just touch and grab a person without presuming that I had permission due to our intimacy. And even then, I would ask “is this ok?”

If another grabbed me in a sudden display of desired lust or affection, I would become uncomfortable. I remember saying to a parishioner once who was squeezing my hand in in a prolonged handshake “Please, let me go. You’re hurting me.” People who have clapped my butt or ogled my front have put me off. It’s one thing to be admired; it’s another to be regarded as one would inspect a piece of meat.

I know I have admired physiques. I’ve undressed countless people in my mind and wondered at what was clothed. If all of us admirers were to be rounded up, those left would be few and feeble. But I kept my hands to myself. I never thought that they should stray to touch another without permission. To violate another’s body, even in “jest” is to demean the sacredness of one’s corporeal being. In the end, it’s not about lust, it’s about power: my power over you. I’ve never presumed to have that much power over anyone. If I did venture into that realm, I had power only in my mind over another in a violent manner. And when I had those thoughts, I repented, sighed and let it go.

The accusations that have been leveled in the last few weeks seem to come like a tsunami. The first wave is bad enough but then more and more names get sucked out into the open air. Perhaps the whole elected national government should resign, a period of fasting and repentance be experienced, and then we should try again.

A people who walked in darkness have seen a great Light. Now would be a good time to see some of that Light to shine.

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