Al Franken announced today that “in the coming weeks” he will resign his seat in the U.S. Senate. Franken, a Democrat from Minnesota, was the subject of a series of allegations of sexual harassment and improper conduct, and ultimately members of his own party decided it was time for him to go.
Why Franken will leave “in the coming weeks” rather than immediately isn’t entirely clear — but apparently part of the Senatorial prerogative is deciding when your resignation will actually take effect. In any case, Franken is one of three members of Congress, both Republican and Democrat, to announce during this week alone that he is resigning in the wake of sexual harassment allegations.
When I heard that Franken had finally bowed to the inevitable and decided to resign, I thought about the fact that I saw him on the Bill Maher show only recently, when he was riding high and touting his new book, called Giant of the Senate. I’ve seen the book prominently displayed in the local library during a recent visit before the allegations and the appalling photo first hit the news. Franken being Franken, no doubt the book title was in large part tongue in cheek — but still the juxtaposition of the book title and its cover illustration with Franken’s rapid downfall and humiliating resignation suggests a valuable lesson. Hubris, even partly tongue in cheek hubris, is just begging to be brought low.
You can probably buy Franken’s book at a discount these days.