It’s not as if I actually needed more evidence that the bible-thumping, God-fearing, fire-and-brimstone slinging ideologues of the American Right have never had a moral leg to stand on. But the allegations surrounding Senate-hopeful/Creepy Uncle Roy Moore – and worse, the evangelical response to these allegations – rid my mind of all remaining doubt.
We’re all familiar with political scandals. Those of us who pay attention to these things have seen our share of indecencies – things like financial fraud, briberies, affairs; even the occasional abortion by some pro-lifer’s mistress. And for the most part, we all keep calm and carry on. But this scandal is different. This scandal sends a fucking chill down my spine.
Just to recap, here’s what’s actually happened: Roy Moore has been called out for the litany of sexually predatory and pedophilic relationships that he, as a politically prominent man in his middle-30s, arranged with a number of high school girls. The alleged number of such relationships currently stands at 5, but as these things tend to go, it is probably safe to assume that that number will rise. In one instance, Moore offered to babysit a 14 year old girl, and – after winning the trust of her mother – brought her to his cabin in the woods, whereupon he broke out the booze and proceeded to get handsy with the minor.
Unsurprisingly, the alternative universe of right-wing media has chosen to circle the wagons around this freak. Sean Hannity, the same guy who devoted months of airtime to virtue-signaling and feigning moral outrage over the dick-pics of Anthony Weiner, came immediately to Moore’s defense: “Every single person in this country deserves the presumption of innocence”, he opined. Sure, Sean, sure. Just so long as they’ve got an (R) instead of a (D) next to their name, that is – am I getting it now?
Steve Bannon, for his part, framed the allegations as a political hit-job by the fake-news liberal media. That’s pretty much par for the course from that lunatic. And Donald Trump’s silence on the matter has of course been deafening, given that Moore built his whole campaign in the Orange One’s very image. But perhaps the most egregious explanation came right from the horse’s mouth: “I don’t remember dating any girl without the permission of her mother.”
Awh, shucks. He even asked their mamas for permission! Granted, he did ask to be their babysitter, not their boyfriend, but let’s not get caught up in semantics, here.
And of course, this was only one of many mutually exclusive defenses barfed up by the Moore campaign and it’s sympathizers. Others include (in so many words): “I’ve never even met that chick”, “The choking story was consensual, too”, and my personal favorite, “Mary was pretty fresh when Joseph knocked her up with baby Jesus”. Also – wasn’t that supposedly a virgin birth? Fuck, even I know that one.
In other words, it’s been an avalanche of stone-faced lies from all of the usual suspects. Lies from the same cynical people who spent the better part of the last decade attacking Hillary Clinton on the basis that she was a lair. Nothing but lies, obfuscation and denialism from the “Values Voters” crowd. Lies, indeed, from the very man who defied a fucking federal court to keep a concrete statute of the Ten Commandments in his Alabama courthouse.
Perhaps it would be worth it to revisit those commandments now, Republicans, and to think about the way you measure up – to the Ninth one, in particular.