Alabama Senate Race: The Academic Redneck Endorses Roy Moore

Dear Fellow Alabamians (or “Alabamans,” as media types who know nothing about you and don’t really care to learn, call you):

Despite our home state’s unfortunate notoriety in history and literature for falsely accusing men of rape, your betters have decided that this time it’s your moral obligation to join a righteous mob. You no longer need be troubled by cases like the Scottsboro Boys and the theme of To Kill a Mockingbird. Now it’s perfectly acceptable to condemn a man purely on allegations and a yearbook inscription that’s been altered. Accusations about events that supposedly happened nearly forty years ago should be sufficient for you to repudiate Roy Moore, a candidate who only a few months ago was a shoo-in for office. A lot of people in elite circles just know Moore is guilty, so you’d better buck up, jump on the bandwagon, and ride on the correct side of history this time. Otherwise, be prepared for more ridicule from Saturday Night Live and Trevor Noah.

On the eve of the hotly-contested and controversial Alabama senate race, it’s time for yours truly, the Academic Redneck, to weigh in. Under normal circumstances, I would not vote for someone like Roy Moore if I were still an Alabama resident. On the other hand, I wasn’t exactly happy with his Republican opponent, establishment darling Luther Strange, either. I considered Mo Brooks the better choice, but he’s already in the U.S. House and should probably remain there for now. The last thing Alabama needs at the moment is another special election.  Fewer opportunities for “Alabamans” Alabamians to be caricatured, stereotyped, and ridiculed is a probably a good thing. 

I consider Moore a pompous demagogue who flouts federal law. I like him no better than the kooky California politicians who get away with ignoring federal immigration statutes. Yet we all know which lawbreakers the national press will praise and which ones they will pillory. Even before I left Alabama seventeen years ago, the media covered Moore’s Ten Commandments defiance with breathless outrage. In contrast, San Francisco and other Democrat Party-dominated cities that harbor illegal immigrant criminals (like the man who killed Kate Steinle) are heralded as “sanctuary” locales protecting the downtrodden. When idiots in Alabama defy federal law, the state can expect federal troops to pay the state a visit. Or at the very least, the federal government will exert intense pressure on the state to clean up its act. Rightly so. In contrast, bastions of sophistication and culture like the City by the Bay and similar leftist strongholds that refuse to follow the law do so with impunity and the support of a sympathetic media narrative.

This double standard is one reason I am endorsing Roy Moore. It’s high time the country has a national conversation about equal enforcement of the law. The #Resist movement has made it clear they intend to do everything possible–legal and extralegal–to thwart Donald Trump’s agenda. Unable to accept the outcome of the 2016 election, Trump’s political opponents hope to regain control of the legislative branch to oust him from power. The fight over control of Congress is ground zero. If Trump’s opponents can create enough chaos and controversy over a solidly red Alabama senate seat to turn it blue, then they feel great optimism that they can take back the the House and Senate as well. Roy Moore is reviled nationally by the far left, but he’s not the real target; Trump is.  That is why it’s of strategic importance for conservatives to turn out and support Moore. As Dov Fischer wrote last week in the American Spectator:

That is how Democrats do it. They make Republicans feel guilty. They con Christians and religious Catholics and observant Jews into feeling that, somehow, there is a religious or moral imperative to abandon a critical United States Senate seat. Then they cynically scoop it up, cobbling together Congressional majorities built on the hands and in the trousers of their House icons and their Senate royalty like Al Franken, Ted Kennedy, Chris Dodd, and other gems. All backed by a quarter-century iconization of Bill Clinton and Hillary, who only now — finally — are being thrown under the bus as the Donna Braziles, Kirsten Gillibrands, and others belatedly race to dissociate from them because, now that the Clintons finally are dead in Democrat politics, the survivors who fed off their teets for years rush to tell us that they just never knew about Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Corbin Jones, Kathleen Willey, Monica Lewinsky… or the young rape victim over whom Hillary giggled when describing how she got the rapist off.

Keeping Congress in conservatives’ hands is one important reason to vote for Moore. But there is another reason I believe he should be elected: The fear of the mob should be of far greater concern than Moore’s winning tomorrow. It should terrify every reasonable American to think that a person can have his or her reputation, livelihood, and freedom compromised in a media show trial where talking heads debate guilt or innocence every night. Such spectacles serve merely to inflame passions and limit rational thinking. As I said, I find Moore’s grandstanding over the Ten Commandments distasteful. Nevertheless, I must try and overcome my prejudices and consider the evidence dispassionately.  Moore’s severest detractors should be the first ones calling for fairness rather than prepping the tar and feathers.

No one is suggesting that credible allegations of sexual assault should be ignored. However, I am highly skeptical that these accusations, coming as they have in the waning days of the campaign, have merit. I have been fairly consistent on this point throughout my voting years. I voted for Bill Clinton twice and still believe the charges against him should have been litigated in court, not the public arena. I have not condemned Al Franken and do not know whether the accusations against him warrant his resignation. “Believe the women,” we are told. How did that work out with Victoria Price and Ruby Bates, the two accusers in the Scottsboro case? Or MayElla Ewell in Mockingbird, which was based on the case? In recent years, we have seen a number of these high-profile rape stories fall apart under scrutiny (Duke Lacrosse, the Rolling Stone “rape culture” profile at the University of Virginia).

A better guide would be to believe facts and physical evidence. The crime supposedly happened in the late 1970s. The assault was not reported then. As Atticus Finch pointed out with Tom Robinson, apparently nobody went for a doctor. Multiple accusers who didn’t know each other? How hard would it really be for a politically-motivated operative to find random women willing to swear Moore assaulted them? Without any actual evidence, the general public has no definitive proof that these incidents took place. In such cases, the benefit of the doubt must be given to the accused.

One accusation that seems particularly far-fetched was that Moore was some sort of mall lurker in the late 1970s, when he was a thirty-something up-and-coming attorney in the Etowah County’s D.A.’s office. We are supposed to believe that a West Point graduate with a promising future had to cruise a small-town mall and compete for dates with the local high school quarterbacks and  teenaged bag boys from the Piggly Wiggly?  

I grew up in the neighboring county where all of this supposedly happened. Those of us familiar with the local culture know a lot of rural Alabama parents wouldn’t have minded if their seventeen or eighteen-year-old daughters dated a man in his thirties. My parents also would have allowed me to date someone older, provided the man treated me respectfully. If he had gotten fresh, I can just hear my father saying, “I’ll kill that sumbitch” and meaning it. Looking at pictures of Moore from those years, I probably would have wanted to date him myself.  He appears to have been a handsome, muscular guy, probably someone who’d splurge and take a date out for an upscale dinner at Catfish Cabin instead of buying her a burger at the food court. There’s not much dispute that Moore liked younger women. So what? If these women were of legal age, then it’s irrelevant if the people who’ve suddenly decided that Bill Clinton was a creep after all now think that Moore is too sleazy for Congress. (Too sleazy for Congress? Let that sink in.)

Before the pearl clutching begins about southerners’ idiosyncratic and harmful attitudes about children, let’s recall what was happening in the artistic community about the time Moore is alleged to have sexually assaulted a fourteen-year-old. In 1977, director Roman Polanski was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a thirteen-year-old girl. He would flee the country a year later. Moreover,  two of the most famous stars of the mid and late 1970s were Jodie Foster and Brooke Shields, who were twelve years old when they starred as teen prostitutes. In 1978’s Pretty Baby, forty-six-year-old Louis Malle (future husband of Candice Bergen, Dan Quayle’s nemesis) was directing Shields in nude scenes. Back then, religious people (particularly in the South) concerned about the exploitation of children in these films were ridiculed as prudes. If the Etowah County, Alabama, rumor mill were churning about a deputy district attorney preying on under-aged children,  someone would have raised hell. A community like Gadsden, Alabama, would not knowingly have tolerated a child rapist in its midst.

People who have disliked Moore for years should not let their contempt of him undermine their objectivity. In a situation where there is no physical or factual evidence connecting Moore to a crime, he must be judged on that standard, despite the media’s and other detractors’ demands for his scalp.

As my Alabama readers cast their ballots tomorrow, I would suggest they apply the Atticus Finch standard: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view […] until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”