For the better part of the last decade we have been traveling to the United States of America for winter holidays. What started as three-week vacations on Hilton Head Island when we were working has since grown to six-month hibernations in Florida following retirement. During the entire time in America we have been regularly riveted to cable news programs to follow national political developments. I can’t but recall the expressed preference of a venerable Canadian lawyer for American politics. If you have a taste for it, its appeal is undeniable!
While many people have opined that the arrival one year ago of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States of America marked the alteration of the political landscape in unimaginable ways, I believe there is an even more important hybrid which is evolving; namely, the Alabama candidacy of Judge Roy S. Moore for the US Senate. While Trump has succeeded to upset the apple cart in every way possible, I believe the more telling synthesis of Trump’s distasteful conduct and Moore’s reflective image of it is that the American public will at last wrestle the demon to the ground and reclaim its heritage of social and political propriety. The Alabama Senate election is scheduled for December 12th next and I wager Moore will be soundly defeated notwithstanding the prevarication which is rampant among pundits (who pointedly got burned on their predictions about Trump’s election).
What matters about Moore is that he has been described by CNN and other political analysts as the “Alabama Nut Job“. One commentator added, “If wackos had an army, Moore would be a 7-star General“. Moore is the embodiment of the extreme good and the extreme bad of America. On the one hand he represents the moral foundation of America (upon the subject of which he wrote a book) and on the other hand he represents the immorality of America (captured in the reports of 5 women concerning their teenage sexual assaults by Moore). He pretty much covers everything else in between those two poles, including homophobia, anti-transgenderism, anti-Muslim, anti-abortion, contempt of court, financial charitable indiscretion, birther movement advocate, rejection of the theory of evolution, reduction of legal immigration, trade protectionism, denial of marriage licences to same-sex couples, theory of religious vengeance behind 9/11 attacks, Sandy Hook murders and Chicago crime and the paramountcy of Christianity and the Word of God (Moore has earned the nickname of “Ayatollah of Alabama” by his critics). And he is a supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, stating that he is maybe “more akin to me than I know (myself)“.
These incredible assertions are themselves wildly entertaining (which admittedly is at the root of much of the appeal of American politics). But where it gets substantively provocative is that the craziness sets the stage of a national rumble. It is however impossible to isolate what is about to happen in Alabama from what is happening nationwide in America. Significantly the kernel of evolution was sown following the election of Trump to the presidency. Almost immediately after Trump’s inauguration there were nationwide protests by women. Even though the causes being advanced were primarily focused upon women’s issues (sexual assault, abortion, paid family leave, police brutality and higher minimum wage) the marches also championed race, immigration and LGBT issues (generally promoting common causes of activist organizations to avoid being one-dimensional). Though no one could have predicted it, the root of the women’s marches – Trump’s overt sexism – was to become the source of a national uprising. Contemporaneously Hollywood celebrities by the number have become the target of allegations of sexual assault. This has fueled a universal uproar against moral turpitude throughout America. It is in this milieu that Moore has suddenly made his inauspicious appearance. Until now he was viewed merely as another bigoted and negligible Southerner. But by adding to his disgrace the veneer of pedophilia he has upped the stakes considerably and the authority of both the Republican party in particular and the American political system in general now turns upon his election to the US Senate.
Not the least of the ramifications of Moore’s election is the perception that it condones violence against women. On the broader political spectrum it will feed into the lack of ethics of the current White House administration under Trump who was also the target of allegations of sexual impropriety before his election. Moore’s destiny will effectively chart the upcoming career of American politics. It is unsafe to presume that the Alabamian electorate will sheepishly follow their Christian instincts to support the likes of Moore in spite of his repeated denials of indiscretion. His unequivocal misbehaviour has become a national touchstone and it has set off an electrical bolt which has hardened the American public against a whole raft of prejudice and licentiousness hitherto unspoken. Moore’s downfall may well begin the erosion of Trump’s erstwhile political comedy. I have every reason to suspect that stalwarts such as Mitt Romney have no intention of spending the rest of their lives in whistful reminiscence. He and a multitutude of others like him are gleefully rubbing their hands and sharpening their knives in the wings!