“As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” – Proverbs 26:11
“How low will they go?” Pretty damned low. The Republican party “establishment,” represented by Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell – and motivated by some masochistic and futile instinct to appease and regain the affections of the MAGA folks, the most paranoid, misbegotten, and extreme wing of the Republican Party – has gone all in with its support for mumbling, dingbat theocrat and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.
With his strange legal theories, disturbing sexual obsessions, and crackpot ideas about the “biblical patriarchy” and subordinate role of women, Roy Moore is already an embarrasment to the state of Alabama. Electing him senator might be good for the Republican Party (in some narrow, technical sense), but catastrophic for Alabama, and for the United States. And so the special election between Democrat Doug Jones and Republican Roy Moore on December 12 will ask this question of Alabama Republican voters: how much damage are you willing to inflict upon your state, and upon your country, to support the Republican Party?
Consider the implications. As senator, Roy Moore will serve for 3 years to fill out Jeff Sessions term, before coming up for reelection for a 6-year term. As senator, Roy Moore will confirm judges to lifetime appointments. He will visit upon the Senate his willful, prideful ignorance on nearly every matter of public policy and law, especially on matters of reproductive health and employment equality that directly affect women. He will seek to transform every public American institution and commitment into instruments of his own private, deranged Christian apocalyptic vision. He will seal and grease the downward slope of the shit show we call American politics (as if it needed any more sealing and greasing and shit-showing).
A vote for Roy Moore – like a vote for Donald Trump – is simply a fuck you vote. Fuck you to smug northern and coastal notions of superiority, to urban fancy-pants “elites,” to job-stealing migrants, to black “welfare queens,” to Muslim “hordes.” But fuck you will not Make America (or Alabama) Great Again. At some point, Trump supporters and Republicans in Alabama must embrace positive visions of governance and policy that are inclusive and forward-looking, that acknowledge global and national realities in the 21st century, not some imagined myth of “national” sovereignty and manufactured, racialized notions of national “identity.”
Steve Bannon (who never really left Trump’s side and remains his “truth” whisperer) and the creepy MAGA Coalition (with its bizarre swastika iconography and “chief strategist” Sebastian Gorka) have never wavered in their support for Roy Moore, whom they regard as the “tip of the spear” in their insurgent war to wrest control of national politics away from coastal elites on behalf of a phantom “grass roots” citizen movement and an unbalanced, crazed president whose singular motivation in governing is to erase entirely the legacy of his predecessor.
So yep, this is an incredibly important moment for the state of Alabama – where the romance of the Civil War’s “lost cause” has for 150 years animated and directed political emotions – a “cause” for which families in Alabama have long suffered, as a consequence of the political corruption, religious hypocrisy, racial scarring, and catastrophically poor governance that have for too long become a badge of honor.
By supporting Roy Moore, the Republican Party is telling Alabama residents: You are 1st in the alphabet of states, but are otherwise, and perennially, ranked near the bottom of all states by any measure of public health, safety, education, and prosperity. You rank 47th in health care; 47th in education; 42nd in crime and corrections; 31st in infrastructure; 40th in opportunity; 45th in economic health; and 42nd in government efficacy and honesty. Is this the best you can do? Is this the best you want to do? Having governed the state with a hammerlock for nearly 3 decades, do you really believe the Republican Party in Alabama represents your interests and can improve the state of your lives, and the lives of your children? Even if you support the Republican Party in Alabama, do you really believe Roy Moore can deliver any meaningful progress to the state of Alabama or the United States of America. Given his apocalyptic Christian vision, does Roy Moore even have a concept of progress, or is his stewardship and governance about delivering the nation to the end of days, by nuclear cataclysm, environmental catastrophe, or other means at his disposal as a U.S. Senator?
But there is more. At its pivot points, history beckons to all of us. Democrats in Alabama , and Democrats throughout the nation – know they have let down the American people through their own blend of arrogance, indifference, and malfeasance. Democrats in Alabama – especially African-American Democrats – have through their years in the wilderness grown demoralized and apathetic, their party plundered by in-fighting and incompetence of their leaders. Now is the moment when Alabama Democrats – younger voters, women, African-Americans – can reclaim and own their history by supporting Democrat Doug Jones, a man every bit as decent and humble and concerned with real issues as Roy Moore is nasty, snarling, narcissistic, and tangled in the fever dreams of his own mind.