Roy Moore and Taking a Point to its Logical Conclusion
I'm having a really hard time writing anything about Roy Moore. I'm not sure what there is left to say. Former Bush staffer Michael Gerson, however, managed to articulate something that has been on my mind for several weeks.
"When it comes to confirming judges who oppose Roe v. Wade, the vote of a statesman is no better than the vote of a sexual predator — or, presumably, of a drug dealer or a murderer. This type of calculation admits no limiting principle [...] Those willing to swallow all this — all the ignorance, cruelty, creepiness and malice — have truly shown the strength of their partisan commitment. A purity indistinguishable from mania."
Here, Gerson removes the question of motivation from the abstract and poses a vote or support or equivocation on Moore's candidacy as a choice. One option is an abhorrent bigot with no respect for the rule of law against whom several women have leveled accusations of sexual assault. He also happens to be pro-life. The other option is a fundamentally decent man with an impressive record of pursuing justice on behalf of children. He happens to be pro-choice.
Gerson takes this choice to its logical conclusion. If Republicans can tolerate Roy Moore in service of this end, what exactly constitutes a deal-breaker?
Here's a thing: I am pro-choice. I don't talk about it much but I am. Quite vehemently. Roy Moore is more suitable for public service than I am.
I have friends who are gay who grew up as devout Christians and who understand, sympathize with, and have compassion for people of faith even as those people fight to restrict their citizenship and personhood. Roy Moore is more suitable for public service than they are.
I know people who are not Christian and who are deeply interested in and passionate about interfaith cooperation and justice. Roy Moore is more suitable for public service than they are.
Roy Moore is apparently more suitable for public service than I am because he believes, rhetorically, in the sanctity of life even though he shows nothing but blatant disregard for the lives and welfare of others both in his private conduct and public positions. He is apparently more suitable for public service than my LGBTQ friends because he is openly hostile to their full citizenship and humanity while they are tolerant of his. He is apparently more suitable for public service than a diverse array of people of all faiths because they value that plurality while he would see them barred from serving their country.
It's hard for me to describe this man's political party as anything less than utterly and completely morally bankrupt. There is no wriggling off that hook. This is not a situation that is isolated to a rogue faction of Alabama voters. Mitch McConnell "believes these women" who have accused Roy Moore but no longer feels that their dignity is worth sacrificing a vote on his tax bill. Paul Ryan has called on John Conyers (a Democrat) to resign from Congress in the face of sexual harassment allegations but has neglected to make the same case for Blake Farenthold (a Republican) whose behavior mirrors that of Conyers almost exactly. Neither has Ryan had much to say about Roy Moore at all. The Republican National Committee has decided to put its support behind Moore once again.
This country has ceased to have two functioning political parties. I'm not really sure what more there is to say. Rhetorical piety is not enough. It was, even when it stood free of the most rank and cynical hypocrisy. No one cares what these faithful politicians profess to believe. Action is evidence of belief. Everyone knows what they believe already.