“Go away, little girl. I’m not supposed to be alone with you.” — Gerry Goffin and Carole King
When I first heard the news about Alabama’s would-be next Republican U.S. Senator “Judge” Roy Moore, I had two thoughts almost simultaneously: thank God it isn’t Mississippi and this might get the crazy ole coot more votes.
It is Alabama, after all, and Alabama politics are arguably nuttier than our ours—at least historically—which is not to say we aren’t gaining on them.
So the first thing I did was read the Washington Post story in which a now 50-plus, then 14-year-old Alabama child alleges that Moore molested her, and three other now women, then teens, say that he wanted to “date” them.
Then I read it again. I wonder how many now expressing their politically bifurcated opinions anywhere and everywhere have actually done that? How many folks have actually read the newspaper’s thoroughly sourced story which has, as C.S. Lewis once said of another, “that ring of truth that real things do?”
Not that it makes any difference, of course. Nothing that used to much does anymore.
Crazy as a road lizard in the sunshine, Roy Moore is Steve Bannon’s dream candidate in his quest to dismantle the Republican Party and remake it into a jar of Planter’s Mixed Nuts. He’s something of a legend in Alabama—sort of a Judge Roy Bean caricature—because of his “they ain’t gonna push me around” populist outrageousness.
He’s run for governor twice and lost both times, but he has been elected as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court twice, only to be removed from that office each time for refusing to obey federal court orders—once for not removing a statue of the Ten Commandments from his courthouse and another for ordering other state judges not to obey subsequent court orders regarding same-sex marriages.
And now, sporting a cowboy hat to accessorize his cowboy image, he’s campaigning for Jeff Sessions’ old Senate seat, waving a pistol around on campaign stops as he does.
But then on Monday (of last week), another shoe, a heavy one, dropped when a fifth woman publicly came forward to say that Moore essentially stalked her at the restaurant she worked when she was 16 and then assaulted her one night during an offered ride home. And this one has evidence, her 1977 class yearbook that contains what Moore hasn’t disputed as his handwritten note saying how pretty she was and signing it “love, Roy Moore.” Through her man-eating attorney Gloria Allred, she has upped the ante, offering to tell her story to Congress under oath and challenging Moore to do the same.
So now, facing credible accusations that he diddled around with one little girl and outright assaulted another one way back when, this twice defrocked judge is vociferously denying it (that sort of thing clashes a mite with the “Foundation for Moral Law” of his founding), and sending out fund-raising messages claiming to be the victim of a Democratic and media conspiracy to deny the United States Senate of his morally enlightened presence.
And, in this “Alice Through the Looking Glass” political climate of ours, a lot of folks are buying that like dimes for a nickel. Dragging Jesus into this muck is popular; the Ala. Treasurer reminded us that Joseph was older and Mary a teen, as if that were somehow relevant to anything, and Moore’s brother compared his sibling’s “persecution” to that of Christ’s. My favorite, though, was the fellow who said he’d rather elect a child molester than a Democrat.
I ran my own unscientific public opinion test, posting on my Facebook page that if his party cozied up to Moore and attacked his accuser, it would pay a steep price for doing so, and the response I received was sadly what I expected.
There were lots of straw man argument references to Clintons and Herman Cain. A couple called the accuser a Democrat (she voted for Trump). One said Moore “should have his day in court and not the media,” even though any applicable statutes of limitations ran out decades ago, while another said if true, there would have been convictions over the 40-year span, even though the accusation just surfaced and the fact is this is not a legal matter in any sense. And one person (who I know to be familiar with the First Amendment) suggested that the “press should be regulated,” to keep us from having to deal with such sticky wickets.
Roy Moore should have been dismissed from the political scene years ago as just a crazy old man and yet today he is but (probably a short) step away from being elected to the U.S. Senate despite being a crazy, dirty old man.
The people of Alabama could stop this, but the smart money is they won’t.
That being the case, this penultimate example of “the end justifies the means” will have done nothing more but prove Neil Young was right in his lyrical battle about the South with the state’s own late, great Lynard Skynard:
“Oh, Alabama. See the old folks, tied with white robes. Hear the banjo. Don’t it take you down home? What are you doing, Alabama? You got the rest of the union to help you along. What’s going wrong?”
Ray Mosby is editor and publisher of the Deer Creek Pilot in Rolling Fork.