Judging on Character
Terry H. Schwadron
Nov. 11, 2017
It may be of no use to raise another voice against the outrage that is the Alabama U.S. Senate race, but I can’t set aside my upset.
Sure, I’m disappointed that Alabama voters may still end up electing Judge Roy Moore, despite these outlandish allegations that he was way over the line in inappropriately a teenager 40 years ago.
But worse to me is the dripping hypocrisy at work among his local colleagues in his defense.
Local Republican allies seem so blinded in his cause as to look aside not only about the unprovable allegations of one totally believable woman now in her 50s offering a logical and consistent tale of Moore’s approach as an adult prosecutor to lure her to secluded surroundings, but of other former teens who also said they spent time with him as an adult.
I’ll admit, having heard over a long time about Moore’s views on public life and policies, and having felt myself squirming in his extreme beliefs that his own brand of religiosity always trumps secular law, I have not found any solace in thinking that he may well become a U.S. senator.
The statute of limitations has run out on any criminal charges, but this man offers himself as a Senate candidate based on his character. But apparently you shouldn’t look too closely.
If he — and his allies — are going to wave his peculiar, judgmental religious sword to guide public policy and his campaign for the Senate, they could at least apply it to his own life. As with Donald Trump himself, he sees nothing wrong in the basics of the situations described in the allegations.
This is a man who finds Biblical and deep religious reasons to dedicate his life to opposing same-sex marriage or even civil unions, immigration, federal overreach in education and government sponsored health care. He has called 9/11 retribution for a nation that allows homosexuality, he has found so much moral fault in our society that he twice was thrown off the Alabama Supreme Court, which he had headed, for refusing to recognize federal orders, and to insist on installing replicas of the Ten Commandments in the courthouse.
According to his website, he believes in Family: “As a husband, father, and grandfather, I know the importance of the future we leave to our posterity. A strong family based on marriage between one man and one woman is and should remain our only guide and model. I oppose abortion, same-sex marriage, civil unions, and all other threats to the traditional family order. Federal funding for Planned Parenthood or any form of abortion should be stopped. We must remain a moral and virtuous people, ‘One Nation under God.’ I support freedom of worship and the recognition of that God upon Whom we have always relied in peace and war.”
What part of that statement supports dating teenagers, or worse, to lure a 14-year-old into situation where it would be okay to partake in inappropriate sexual touching?
Moore finally — on Sean Hannity’s radio show — denied charges from the former teen, now in her 50s, by saying he “Generally did not date teenagers” when he was in his 30s, although he did date others under 20. The legal age of consent in Alabama is 16. But mostly he cited a foggy memory.
As bad as that sounds, far more vile statements from Moore supporters have sought to push back against calls from Republican senators suggesting that Moore step aside from the race. Senators from John McCain to Mitch McConnell, and even from the White House, which will not own up to its own hypocrisies, said basically that if the allegations reflect even the kernel of truth, Moore has no place being in the Senate.
Yet his closest backers in Alabama were clear that the allegations were not to believed or it all happened too long ago, or there was nothing wrong with a man dating a teenager, particular if she was over 16, or that offered that awful Biblical parallel to Joseph, an adult carpenter, finding himself with Mary, a teenager — and as Stephen Colbert noted remained free of sexual entanglement, to parent the baby Jesus.
I’m tempted to say that following their logic, anyone elected by this particular group of Republican “thinkers” should not be admitted into the Senate.
Moore is insistent on running, and on using this situation as a fund-raising tool. The Bannon’s, Hannity’s and local conservatives are making what should be looked at a criminal situation as a manifestation of partisan politics.
It is bad enough that we find ourselves painfully awash with the bad behaviors of Hollywood and entertainment celebrities, with those in workplace power positions and the generally poor treatment of women to which we have become too enured.
What we don’t need is another political campaign of hypocrisy in the name of conservative vote counting. With Moore staying in the race, however, it is a question of whether Alabama wants truly to be part of a nation about decency or one that just waves religious slogans at the problems of indecency.