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Reader's view: Zero tolerance needed for Franken, others

For weeks I have been unsettled regarding U.S. Sen. Al Franken's statements related to his sexual harassment of women. I am not a fan of Sen. Franken's, but his statements seemed genuinely contrite.

The Dec. 3 "National View" column, "Al Franken's calculated strategy of non-denial," offered me the opportunity to move beyond the fog of political speak and to see Sen. Franken for who and what he is. Bloomberg View columnist Ramesh Ponnuru rightly pointed out that Sen. Franken repeatedly has used political speak to avoid personal accountability for his sexual harassment.

Political-speak favorites such as the old, "let's move forward," and, "I feel your pain," distance the guilty perpetrator from the ramifications of his or her behavior.

While other organizations are taking a zero-tolerance view of sexual harassment and firing perpetrators, Sen. Franken returned to work and vowed to work with a toothless ethics committee.

Sen. Franken seems to be discounting his accusers through his strategy of non-denial. By doing so, he perpetuates the culture of power/sexual harassment.

If our society truly wishes to rid itself of those who sexually harass because they feel they can due to their special status, then zero tolerance is the only option — for everyone.

James Holter