December 12, 2017, witnessed the close of one of the most talked about and strangest special elections in American history. In a state that just one year ago gave then candidate Donald Trump 62.9% of the vote, a Democrat by the name of Doug Jones won the special election. Senator-Elect Jones is no Southern Dixiecrat, the old moderately conservative Democrat breed that ruled the South for decades. Nope, he is a full blown liberal. So how did this come to be?
It was a surprise to many when a conservative stalwart, known best for his battle to keep the Ten Commandments Monument in the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building, Roy Moore, defeated Luther Strange in the August 15th Republican Primary. Moore was undeniably the favorite of grassroots Republicans, evangelicals, and tea partiers while Strange was backed heavily by the DC Republican lobbyists and career politicians. It was very reluctantly that this latter group threw their support behind Moore once he was the GOP nominee.
Fast forward to November 9, 2017, when the Washington Post ran a story on a woman who claimed that Moore dated and tried to have sex with her in 1979. She would have been 14 at the time and Moore 32. After this more women came forward with allegations that Moore also dated and tried to have sex with them when they were in their teens and he was in his early 30’s. What happened next is really what I want to focus on.
The ink wasn’t even dry on the Washington Post’s story before the DC Republican elite dropped Moore like a hot potato. These guys already hated Moore because he wasn’t one of “them” and were tickled pink to have an excuse to dump him. At the same time many folks were claiming that this whole thing was cooked up by the Democrats to destroy Moore with slanderous lies and false accusations.
Although the vast majority of people made up their minds without bothering to see if there was any evidence to support these accusations, the debate raged at a fever pitch for over a month (and is actually still going on in the wake of the election). Those who were genuinely in search of the truth found it next to impossible to find any writers who were presenting anything more than their own opinions. Tribalism had dug in it’s heels and it wasn’t going anywhere.
It was pretty clear to me that if someone didn’t like Roy Moore prior to November 9th, then they easily reached the conclusion that the allegations against him were credible. On the flip side, those who really liked Moore refused to believe that any of these accusers were telling the truth. The most disturbing response were the ones who said that they didn’t care if the accusations were true, Moore was the Republican and the other guy was a Democrat. Therefore, vote for Moore.
This whole saga raises numerous serious questions that I believe need to be addressed. There are probably more, but here are some of the ones that come to mind.
If these allegations were true, could there have been a vetting process that could have identified them long before the primary election?
If these allegations were false, how are we going to counter similar false accusations in the future against men who are running for office?
In cases of rape, attempted rape, sexual harassment, etc., are we always going to assume guilty until proven innocent?
Are we always going to assume innocence or guilt based on whether or not we agree with the person politically?
Should it be a felony to falsely accuse someone else of a crime, but particularly a crime of a sexual nature?
In the aftermath of Tuesday’s special election, many of the comments on social media from both Moore supporters and Moore opposers are quite distressing. First, celebrating the victory of Doug Jones is downright disgusting. The guy unapologetically supports killing babies right up to the time that their little bodies are in the birth canal. He opposes EVERYTHING we Republicans claim to stand for. His victory is hideous and I can’t wait for him to be replaced by Mo Brooks in 2020. If you believed Moore was guilty, then last night was a lose/lose situation. Neither outcome would be something to celebrate.
Now to those who believe that the answer is to win at all costs and the means justify the ends, I refuse to share a political cause with you. If you think that we should just start making false accusations against politicians we don’t like in the hopes of taking them down, then you are going down a very dangerous road. At the end of the day I would really, REALLY like to win, but there are some prices we should all refuse to pay. As a Christian, I try to put things in eternal perspective. If you believe as I do that someday we will stand before God to give an account of our time on earth, I don’t think He is going to buy the whole, “well we had to sacrifice our integrity and morals in order to score these political victories” routine.
We are engaged in a cultural war more so than a political one. You may win a political battle here and there using the tactics of those who have no code of ethics, but we won’t win a culture war that way. Actually, it is the exact opposite. Only WHEN we make morals, ethics, and integrity our main focus will we truly begin to win. Why are so many people who should be with us sitting on the sidelines? Because they refuse to join a movement or cause they perceive as morally compromised. The future depends on us making the right call. This could be the end . . . or just the beginning.