Reams of ink and gigabytes of pixels have been spilled by folks wringing their hands over the Roy Moore election in Alabama and what it reveals about the lack of character in the Republican Party. These pundits furrow their brows and droop their eyelids over this sad state of affairs, that the family values party would allow the presence of an accused “child molester” like Moore on its ticket.
Well, they are right that this abysmal election season has revealed an appalling lack of character in the Republican Party. But it’s in a way that is just about the polar opposite of what critics are claiming. The moral weaknesses that have been exposed are not in Roy Moore but in the Republicans who are running their swords through him like Brutus and his buddies over the fallen body of Caesar.
Their rush to sit in judgment on Moore is immensely disturbing. Before all the facts were in, indeed, before any of the facts were in, Moore was accused, tried, convicted, sentenced, and punished with mind-numbing speed. Republicans, without a single shred of evidence that ANY of the accusations against Moore were true, scrambled to get out in front of the mob calling for his head, preening self-righteously as they did so.
And so Moore was hung out to dry by a hit squad comprised of people on his own team who were supposed to have his back. When these accusations first surfaced, after lying dormant for 39 years and going utterly undetected through 5 different election campaigns, men of character would have said, at a minimum, “Yes, these are disturbing allegations, which is all the more reason to slow down and be sure we have all the facts before we come to any conclusions. Let’s all take the time first to examine the credibility of the accusations and the accusers. In America, everybody is entitled to the presumption of innocence until actual evidence convinces us otherwise. In America, everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence in the court of public opinion as well as in a court of law. In fact, it’s even more important in the court of public opinion, since lobbing rhetorical grenades at a man’s character is virtually risk-free these days because of toothless laws on libel and slander. So lets everybody take a deep breath and examine the evidence before drawing any conclusions.”
But alas, there was no Republican leader anywhere who uttered these words of reason and common sense. Instead, all we heard were the thundering hooves of a disgraceful stampede intent on trampling the unblemished reputation of a man who, over the course of his entire public life, has stood without wavering for principle, the word of God, natural marriage, and the Constitution at considerable cost to himself.
Republicans who had endorsed Moore raced to the nearest microphone to un-endorse. Sen. McConnell, to his everlasting shame, led the assassination squad. Susan Collins threatened to “overturn the will of the people” if Alabamians didn’t come to the correct pre-approved decision at the ballot box. It’s as if the GOP was saying, “If you want a senator, we’ll give him to you. Why? Because you’re too dumb and hickish to pick one yourself.” The contempt and condescension are both obvious and odious.
It made no difference to the madding crowd that only two of Moore’s accusers even charged him with sexual misconduct, and that their stories immediately began to fall completely apart upon closer examination. Beverly Nelson Young of yearbook fame admitted to forgery on national TV, and court records obliterated Leigh Corfman’s story. But Mitch’s mind was made up, and he didn’t want anyone confusing him with, you know, actual facts.
In all of this, the swamp dwellers in the Republican Party have covered themselves with disgrace and revealed themselves to be moral midgets with no sense of fairness, justice, loyalty, courage, or reason. Yes, the Moore election has revealed something about the character of the Republican Party, and what it has revealed is about as ugly as it can get. Shame, shame, shame on them all.