Let me start with the admission, I love every thing Al Franken does – the comedy and the politics. I’ve read his other books, lambasting the clay idols of the popular right wing culture, so I was excited to see what I thought might be his lambasting of his own persona.
I was not disappointed. Done with humor and sufficient self-deprecation, he makes fun of comedians, politicians, and everything in between. Yet, he is serious – serious about his deep belief in American democracy, serious about the responsibilities of being a US Senator, and serious about his duty to represent his constituents.
Franken tells how he got into politics, goes through his first campaign and an election that involved a very lengthy recall and recount proceeding. Finally getting seated late in the Congressional session, but in time to be placed on the Senate Judiciary committee – because there was an opening that had to be filled with a Democrat, Franken cracks jokes about the political process just as he begins to live in that subculture.
The next 100 plus pages are filled with anecdotes about Senators, politics, his own life, and the world around him. There are funny stories told with Franken’s talent for finding the right tone and level of snark yet carrying a moral about how democracy functions (or doesn’t).
He’s pretty pessimistic about the current administration (the book was sent to press just after the inauguration), however, he is optimistic about the political system. He says his story is part of the bigger story of “how progressives picked themselves up off the mat and made an epic comeback” in the 2008 elections. Now, he says, it’s time to do that again:
This comeback starts with standing up for our values and making it clear that no president has a mandate to spread bigotry or roll back the clock on programs…(we can) hold President Trump accountable for everything he does, and not just that, we can hold accountable every single Republican who enables him…”
Gotta love, Al Franken. He truly is the “Giant of the Senate,” even if he’s the one to say so himself!
Angie King is the SLO County NOW Chapter representative. To learn more about NOW write to her at….firstname.lastname@example.org.