Let me begin by making it clear that I despised Roy Moore. I actively pled for people in Alabama not to give him the GOP nomination for Jeff Sessions’ seat in the Senate. His brand of conservatism is not my brand of conservatism. To me, he is representative of all the things that make Alabama look like a backwoods state, which is hard for me to say about my home state and a place that I love.
However, I also believe in right and wrong and I deplore this idea that anyone can be ruined by accusations of wrongdoing alone. I have seen it too many times in too many different circumstances.
- I have seen several times blue check marks and pundits talk about how creepy it is for a man in his 30s to “date” or hit on girls in their teens and how that adds to the “proof” against him. Okay. It may be considered “creepy” by today’s standards of societal norms, but it hasn’t always been the case. Two of the supposed “accusers” (I put that word in quotes because all I could ascertain from their statements was that they accused him of being a gentleman) even discussed how their mothers thought they were lucky he was interested in them and that he was good husband material. The mothers were apparently right since the man has been married to only one woman for the past 35 +/- years. My Pappy married my Nanny when he was in his mid-20s and she was 13. They were married for 60 years until his death. In high school, I went to school with several married girls, and at least 2 of my teachers were or became married to their former students. This was all in Alabama, and I graduated 25 years ago. That is the type of environment you have to judge Moore’s actions. Was it really so unusual for that society? No. It wasn’t. Not then, but it is unfair to judge a person’s actions outside of the time period from which they happened. I also have ancestors that owned slaves. That would be creepy now, but it wasn’t when they did– it was the norm.
- Details in stories matter. The first thing I thought when I read that one of the accusers (14 at the time) talked to Moore on the phone located in her bedroom was that she was lying or misremembering. Nobody in Alabama had phones in their bedrooms in the 70s. She also claimed she couldn’t remember if he gave her wine the 1st or the 2nd time they went to his house, but she definitely remembered telling him she was 14 the 1st time. What girl, being courted by an older guy, in the middle of a date clarifies she is 14? In my experience, teenage girls lie to make boys think they are older. It may be true, but it may not. She may be lying or she could just be misremembering or had been coached. Who knows? I don’t and you don’t. Even in her account, the inappropriate behavior stopped at her insistence and he took her home as she asked. On his next call, she made an “excuse” as to why she couldn’t meet with him. Again, the idea that she needed an excuse seems coached. He stopped calling and never bothered her again. Those are not the actions of a predator. She does not say that he ever threatened her or her family– a predator, who had done something wrong, would.
- Which brings me to lady number 5. Her story hits all of the checkpoints for predatory behavior that none of the other girls’ stories did. He threatened her. He was rough with her. He tried to force her head into his lap. He locked her in the car. All of these actions are predatory. They are abusive. They are actions of assault and intimidation. NONE of those elements were in the accounts by the first 4. This fifth account also happened apparently 2 years earlier (I believe the yearbook was from ’77 and the other accounts were from ’79). Predators DO NOT de-escalate in behavior. They escalate. Just watch or talk to any criminal profiler and you will see predators behave in patterns and those patterns escalate into more and more aggressive behavior. They do not de-escalate. They do not become less aggressive. If he used force and threats in ’77 he would NOT have stopped at the word “No” and not threaten the younger girl in ’79. Add to the fact that this woman contacted Gloria Allred and had an NYC press conference, and describes behavior that hits EVERY hallmark action of a sexual predator when none of the others do does not lend itself to automatic credibility but should be scrutinized. Also, according to her, she left crying, but apparently her boyfriend didn’t notice her tears? She says her neck was bruised the next day, but where were her mom and dad finding out who had bruised their daughter?
- But they voted for Trump! So? A whole lot of people voted for Trump that are traditionally Democrats or that are socially liberal. I did. As I have stated, I hate Roy Moore’s brand of conservatism. Many people that voted for Trump do. Trump, himself, endorsed Luther Strange. Trump has absolutely NOTHING to do with this discussion. The ladies’ votes are used as a smoke-screen. Who they voted for does not add to their credibility any more than what they ate for lunch.
- McConnell and Bannon. It was just weeks ago that McConnell defended his support and $30MILLION for Strange saying it is about picking candidates that can win general elections, not just primaries. Bannon has made war on McConnell. IF Moore were to win, life would become exponentially more difficult for McConnell and the Establishment wing of the GOP Senate next year in 2018. If Moore had to drop out or lose, he could claim a victory over Bannon and make it harder for other “outsider” candidates in races across the country next year to win primaries over incumbents. Also, notice it was 57 minutes from the story going live and McConnell and his GOP Establishment allies standing before reporters calling for Moore to step down. When Alabamians weren’t immediately with them, a whole new accuser stepped forward with Gloria Allred with a story that was horrendous and hit all of the earmarks. Notice that McConnell upped his rhetoric BEFORE that 5th account, almost like he knew what was coming. Then, GOP is threatening to not seat or remove Moore from the Senate, Alabama voters be damned, while they have all sat back and been silent on Dem. Senator Menendez from NJ had been on corruption trials and has been accused of liking the youngest and newest of the underage hookers he was paying for. If Moore’s actions are disqualifying, why haven’t they been as vocal against the deplorable senator from New Jersey?
- Timing is everything. 1 month before the special election and 40 years AFTER these events these women come forward? The primary was heated, why not then? Moore has been a polarizing figure in politics for decades so, why now?
- Why add the other 3 ladies in the first article? Nothing alleged was illegal or immoral except the accusation Moore bought alcohol for a girl when she “might” have been 18, but she acknowledges she turned 19 during that same period and would have been legal. So, who knows if she was underage or not– certainly not the now middle-aged woman. So how can we? Her not remembering that she was in a dry county where no alcohol would have been served doesn’t add to the credibility that she was underage. It also doesn’t make one bit of sense that an ADA would OPENLY break the law by plying an underage girl with alcohol in PUBLIC. Notice, in those 3 accounts, the ONLY suggestion of wrong-doing is he MIGHT have bought alcohol for one that was underage, and logically, it makes more sense that he didn’t. So, why did they include those 3 girls- now ladies? To muddy the waters. To make him look “creepy.” If anything, the one girl that was 14 when she met him but he waited 2 years until she was 16 to ask her out adds more questions to the validity of the other 14 year-olds story. Notice, these other 3 girls all say that he either asked their mother or had their mothers’ blessing. His actions against the 4th girl are an outlier from the WaPo story, which actually should give everyone pause before convicting this man in their mind and the 5th’s story is so very different than the other 4 that it also should be judged with some healthy questioning.
- Memories change over time. In the early 80s, I was molested by an older cousin. I may remember telling a cousin my age, but I can’t be sure. I did tell my mother, at least I think I did. I can’t really remember for certain, but it seems like I remember telling her and not really wanting to hear it or believing me. I “feel” like I remember more about being hurt by my mother’s response than by the actual molestation, although that has caused its own set of issues with me over the past 35+ years. My point in sharing this is that memories change. It is entirely possible that “something” happened to Ladies 1 and 5. What that was or could have been I don’t know. I do know that the mind can be subject to suggestion, and more than one thing can cause false memories. That is why after 40 years it is hard to know for CERTAIN what happened.
- Which leads me to my final point. As a Catholic, I believe we all are sinners. We all make mistakes. It doesn’t preclude us from changing for the better. Look at St. Paul, or Augustine the Great. Two individuals that were men of ill-repute who turned towards God and were changed by God. I don’t know what happened 40 years ago, but there are enough questions surrounding the events that I think people should be too quick to judge. I also think that people may want to take into account that memories can be wrong or manipulated, but even if they weren’t, and what they say is the God’s honest truth, look at the man since then. Did he continue to prey on younger women after he was married? (A predator would.) Or has he been a devoted husband (of a much younger woman) and a public servant that does what he says he will do? Remember, if we judge this man for actions that may or may not be true, judge him for “creepy” behavior that wasn’t so creepy then, judge him for 40-year-old behavior, then we need to judge EVERYONE in the exact same manner. Meaning: accusation of wrong-doing alone is enough to destroy a person’s life. Who, then, is really “worthy” to be serving as elected officials?
Roy Moore may have done these things. He may not have. No matter, that should NOT be the ONLY reason you vote for him or you don’t; mankind is flawed, we are all sinners. We are good and evil. Do you weigh these accusations? Absolutely, just as you weigh policy positions! Look at the totality of the evidence and choose the candidate that you most want to have your voice in DC. Anyone that says otherwise may have an agenda that may not be your agenda. Alabama voters should be the one that decides this, not the media, and not the DC Swamp.