MN Public Radio Commentator: Sen. Franken Wrong to Ambush Tom Minnery at DOMA Hearing


Carrie Daklin, an independent commentator for Minnesota Public Radio writes:

I [would] hope that if I did have to testify before the Senate, whoever was questioning me would be kind, would recognize that this was his sandbox, not mine, and that, as a representative of our country, he would not embarrass me for his own purposes.

Sadly, when Tom Minnery testified, that was not the kind of treatment he received from Al Franken.

Sen. Franken [...] chastised Minnery's assumption of the definition of nuclear families, and stated, essentially, that if Minnery had so misinterpreted the information in the HHS report, then all of his testimony was subject to question.

A fine performance, Sen. Franken, but here's the rub: In case you missed it in those DOMA hearings, the federal government doesn't recognize same-sex marriage. So I would think it might have been reasonable for Minnery to assume that a federal report had followed federal law.

... Humiliation and respect are mutually exclusive. I am afraid that in his zest for the issue at hand, Sen. Franken, wittingly or not, fostered humiliation instead of respect.

The point here is not where you fall on DOMA or gay marriage. The point is that Franken, sadly, did exactly what we as a nation are finding so frustrating in government today: He polarized the situation. He escalated it. And that is not an appropriate role for the powerful position he occupies.

Franken's response no doubt delighted supporters of same-sex marriage. But people who are on the fence may have had a very different reaction. Anyone who wanted to hear and understand the subject with an open mind likely would have been offended by Franken's dismissal of Minnery and would have had all the excuse they needed to walk away.