Americans who still have a little bit of pride, dignity, and self-respect can rejoice – Roy Moore will not become a United States Senator.
It would have been hard to miss what could charitably be called the controversy over Moore’s candidacy for the Alabama Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions (now the United States Attorney General). I wouldn’t call it a controversy, though. I’d call it a dirty war between the people who believe that young people have a right not to be harassed, stalked, and assaulted by adult men and the people who think the Republican Party maintaining control of the Senate is more important than all of that. For the latter group of people, it’s not enough that the accusers have been underage. It’s not enough that their sisters, mothers, daughters, cousins, best friends, and coworkers have shared their stories of harassment and abuse in a vain effort to convince them not to vote for a pedophile.
Contrast that to Minnesota Senator Al Franken, who recently resigned over allegations of sexual harassment. As far as political moves go, it was a terrible one. It lessens the Democratic presence in the Senate at a time when we can’t afford to lose a single seat. But morally, it was undoubtedly the right thing to do. Democrats style themselves as the party of women, the party of human rights, and in condemning Franken and Franken’s resignation, Democrats chose to practice what they preached. They put people above politics, and on the other side of the aisle, Republicans are cackling about the Democratic seat that might be up for grabs in the next election.
I’m not one of those liberals who can’t handle a disagreement. I welcome debate and the free exchange of ideas. What I don’t welcome is an utter lack of compassion and empathy, and the emphasis on partisanship over people. Moore lost the Senate seat by 1.5 percent of the vote, which tells me that now and forever, the Republican Party has lost its morals.
There’s nothing moral about voting the party line when voting the party line means voting for a pedophile. Whatever decent ends the Republicans of Alabama were hoping to achieve with their vote (assuming there were decent ends) are wiped out by the means they took to get there – voting for a man who harasses young girls and thinks it’s all right because he got away with it. I don’t care what rationale they used. It was wrong, and they were wrong, and politics don’t matter in the face of child abuse.
Moore lost. His opponent, a man who successfully prosecuted members of the KKK who murdered children, won. But this isn’t a victory. It is, in the sense that the moral triumphed over the morally bankrupt, but in what it says about the state of Alabama, and the country at large? It says that a child abuser can come within 1.5% of victory in a statewide election. It says that politics are more important than morals to 48.4% of Alabama voters. It says that, if you didn’t realize it before, you’d better realize it now — that we’ve got a problem.
Moore lost. I can breathe easy because of that. But it should never have been that close.