Alabama election a turning point
Published 10:08 pm Tuesday, November 28, 2017
This election is a turning point for women in Alabama. A chance to make their voices heard in a state that has silenced them for too long.
The accusations against Roy Moore have been horrifying, but not shocking.
Every day new allegations arise that illustrate a pattern of a man in his 30s strutting through town like the cock of the walk, courting and preying on young women and girls. And though Roy Moore has denied the accusations of these women, his own platform and record is hostile to so many Alabamians.
Unlike the national party, the Alabama Republican establishment has chosen to stand by him, attacking and belittling the brave women who have come forward.
As a news organization, we have independently investigated stories of several Alabama woman who have spoken to us and the Washington Post about the abuse they say they suffered at the hands of Roy Moore decades ago.
The seriousness of these incidents, including one involving a 14-year-old child, cannot be overstated. Nor can the growing number of accusations — from the women who were at the receiving end of unwanted adult male overtures as teens, to those who say they were physically assaulted — be parsed with talk of statutes of limitations or whether proof has been recorded on a stone tablet. In the American system, proof beyond a reasonable doubt is a consideration for the courtroom, not the ballot box. It is our job as voters to look closely at the candidates and make up our own minds.
Do not let this conversation be muddled. This election has become a referendum on whether we will accept this kind of behavior from our leaders.
Alabamians have never cared about what the rest of country thinks of them. And we do not expect all the handwringing from national pundits, conservative or liberal, to make much of a difference. This election isn’t about what a late-night comedian may think of Alabama or whether Sean Hannity can sell advertisements; it’s not about Saturday Night Live or Mitch McConnell. It’s not about Breitbart or National Democrats. It is about the moral values of the people of Alabama.
Do not make your voting decision based on who it will affect on a national stage. Vote based on who it will affect in your hometown.
We each know someone in our lives who is a survivor of sexual assault or child abuse. Many of us are still searching for the words needed to tell our own stories and some may never find that voice. This election is about them.
How can we look our neighbors, our parishioners, our colleagues, our partners, or our children in the eyes and tell them they are worth less than ensuring one political party keeps a Senate seat? How can we expect young Alabamians to have faith in their government or their church, when its leaders equivocate on matters as clear cut as sexual abuse?
A vote for Roy Moore sends the worst kind of message to Alabamians struggling with abuse: “if you ever do tell your story, Alabama won’t believe you.”
Or, worse, we’ll believe you but we just won’t care.
To be clear: it’s not only his record on women and children that disqualifies Moore. If we vote for Roy Moore, Alabama will also show that we don’t care about you if you’re gay or Muslim or Catholic. If you’re an atheist or an immigrant. We’ll show each other that we only care about Roy Moore’s definition of Alabama. And that there’s not room for the rest of us.
Roy Moore says he has faith in the Alabama voters. But apparently only a select few.
This utter disregard for people unlike himself, his pathological fixation on sex, and the steps he’s taken to actively diminish other people’s freedoms, is more than enough to have disqualified him from this office long before these women stepped into the public eye.
Alabamians opposed to Roy Moore have three options on election day: stay home, write in a candidate, or vote for Doug Jones.
As a news organization, we could never advise voters to stay home. Low turnout in the Republican primary contributed to Roy Moore winning a spot on the ballot. Elections matter. And from soldiers overseas to Civil Rights foot soldiers at home, too many people have risked their lives to secure that privilege for Alabamians. And given what’s at stake in this election, we urge you to register by November 27.
If your conscience tells you that you cannot vote for either man, write in a candidate that shares your convictions. While we believe that state Republicans response to the allegations brought against Roy Moore has cast a permanent shadow on many others — particularly GOP Chairwoman Terry Lathan who has threatened any Republican who speaks out — there are good options in the Republican Party.
Despite what you may have heard, Doug Jones is a moderate Democrat and a strong candidate for all Alabamians. As the son of a steel family, he understands the concerns facing working class families as factories close and jobs disappear. He’s been an active member of Canterbury United Methodist Church in Birmingham. He has built a platform around issues that will define Alabama: job creation, small business development, child healthcare, criminal justice reform and, perhaps most needed of all, compromise.
By bringing justice to four little girls killed at Birmingham’s 16th Baptist Church, Jones helped Alabama move forward from the sins of our past. But unlike some national Democrats, he isn’t interested in shaming Alabama voters because of their history. As a Red State Democrat, we expect Jones would have a larger seat at the table crafting policy in the Senate. Neither Majority Leader Mitch McConnell nor Minority Leader Chuck Schumer would be able to take Jones’ vote for granted (for relevant examples look to West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, Montana’s Jon Tester or North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp). That would put Jones in a strong position to work with Sen. Shelby to secure policies that benefit Alabamians.
While Jones is a vocal Christian, despite Moore’s claims to be the sole Christian in politics, we know his pro-choice stance may be a deal breaker for some Alabamians, but his stance only advocates the law as it is currently written. After a year of complete control of the White House, the Senate and the House, we are skeptical that this Congress plans to pass any relevant legislation on abortion. Jones’ commitment to affordable healthcare for women and children will improve the lives of Alabama’s families, and, for us, his pro-choice stance is not disqualifying.
What is disqualifying is the conduct of Roy Moore against women and children. It was disqualifying for his party leaders. It was disqualifying for Alabama’s senior senator. And it should be disqualifying for his state party.
By the various misdeeds, miscalculations and mistakes of its voters and leaders, Alabama has left itself with few options. Alabamians must show themselves to be people of principle, reject Roy Moore and all that he stands for.
There is only one candidate left in this race who has proven worthy of the task of representing Alabama. He is Doug Jones.
The voters must make their voices heard.