I cannot believe I’m going to defend Al Franken on anything. But here goes - when I see a mix of right and wrong, I feel a need to sort out the elements and explain the difference.
The current scandalous discussion of Al Franken taking a picture fondling the breasts of a lady with whom he is on a tour to entertain the USO has become the focus of this scandal. Franken has vociferously apologized and condemned himself for this picture and his conduct of a sexual nature on that USO trip. He has apologized for similar acts in other situations as well. But conduct in a civilian setting must be judged on a different standard than that on a USO tour
The purpose of a USO tour is to entertain the troops. Who are these troops? They are a bunch of young men, who in general are isolated from female contacts, at the very testosterone-driven peak of their lives. What is the main non-combat topic of discussion among young soldiers? Well, obviously, It’s sex and members of the opposite sex. The type of entertainment that will most gain the interest and ease the tensions of a bunch of young soldiers is something that titillates with borderline sexual content. This is their favorite distraction, and it is genetically ingrained as part of being masculine.
Al Franken was on a USO tour to entertain young troops, and in his normal (albeit low class) manner, he knew exactly what would make them laugh. The posed picture was clearly designed to be shown to the troops and give them some of that laughter. There is nothing wrong with that; the lady going on the USO tour was equally aware of the culture she was appealing to in entertaining the troops.
This would, of course, have been inappropriate in an entertainment venue aimed at nearly any other segment of the population. But here, it was just the kind of thing that would make a bunch of young fellows relax and laugh. There’s nothing wrong with that.
So, why all the fooferaw about apologizing, and Al Franken expressing shame? Well, it is politically incorrect to be masculine anymore. This was an act that was designed to appeal to the natural masculine interests and motivations of a bunch of sexually isolated young men. Appealing to their interests was the entire purpose of this trip.
But in the Era of mixing women with men in combat environments, normal masculine behaviors must be expunged. The problem, of course, it that it is masculine behaviors that create victory in combat. Any mixing of the effeminate behavior pattern with the masculine behavior pattern, dilutes the force that succumbs to it. It ultimately breeds defeat. It leads to defeat, by distracting warriors with sexual mixing on the battlefields and the warships, creating disciplinary challenges that cannot be overcome. Nearly every warship that has had a substantial mix of women and men serving on board has turned into a “love boat.” Pregnancies abound. Urinals are replaced with toilets, ejection seats are re-engineered to protect the weaker spines of female aviators, and so on. And the people who should be young warriors spend more time trying to figure out how to get laid than they do focusing on maintenance and use of their weapons and equipment.
In order to create an effective fighting force it is essential to prevent an environment where this mixing occurs. Sexual mixing will spawn sexual focus – and distraction from war demands. Sexual isolation is necessary – but it creates the frustrations that the USO helps provide an outlet for, with benign, controlled entertainment.
That’s what Al Franken was doing. But he was doing it on the cusp of an era where masculinity has to be suppressed, and the battlefield has to be feminized. A soldier cannot ask for more than to have the enemy distracted by a sexually mixed war place.
Al Franken’s apologies cater to this dysfunctional political correctness. For once, for a change, Al Franken was doing something that actually had a sensible explanation – and now he’s apologizing for it.