President Trump was in Pensacola, Florida Friday night to “un-officially” drum up support for accused pedophile and Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore.
At the rally, Trump offered more enthusiastic support for Moore, telling supporters to “get out and vote for Roy Moore. “Go, go, go,” Trump said at one point, according to media reports.
I’ve lived in New York City for a long time now, but I have deep roots in my home state of Alabama. There’s nothing Alabamians hate more than being told by outsiders what to do or what’s best for them. Yet it seems that’s what a huge portion of the state’s voters will do—ignore the reality of Roy Moore’s hideousness—and obey their great leader from New York City, Donald Trump.
The fact is, if Alabama elects Roy Moore as senator, it would leave a stain so deep and repugnant on the state’s image, reputation and overall standing in the world— it would take years, perhaps decades to recover. Alabama would be seen as a place of hate, where decency and respect for the Constitution are secondary. The state would essentially be endorsing a man who has called for a Taliban-like Christian theocracy. Who would want to visit such a backwards place? What company would choose to invest in a state seen as morally corrupt? But Donald Trump could care less about the socio-economic hit Alabama would take by choosing Moore. All he and other disciples of division such as Steve Bannon really care about are their own warped vision for the nation and world. They see Roy Moore as a vote, nothing else. Alabama is simply a pawn they thought they had safely tucked into their morally compromised vision for a macabre nationalist society.
Alabamians who choose to put Trump first and simply cast aside the ugly craven reality of Roy Moore—probably don’t realize it—but they are being made fools of. It was likely Steve Bannon who pushed Trump to publicly embrace Roy Moore and campaign for him on Twitter and in Florida. As everyone who reads a newspaper knows, Bannon is a master at manipulation and his top chef dish is a preying upon a pungent stew of people’s latent anger, prejudices, and fear.
What’s wildly frustrating is that so many socially conservative Alabamians seem to be following—lock step—accepting Trump and Moore’s lies about Democrat Doug Jones. They say Jones is soft on crime, that he’s liberal and that he will take away their guns. But how many church bombers did Roy Moore put away? And has Donald Trump actually been tough on anything other than our nation’s sense of decency and the institutions of democracy?
And as for guns, Doug Jones has an extensive collection that he hunts and target shoots with. When Charles Bethea at The New Yorker asked Jones what he made of Roy Moore’s fondness for open-carrying:
“Somebody that gets out on stage and pulls out a little bitty gun?” he chuckled. “Let me tell you: Absolutely, I could out-shoot him. Maybe that’s the way to settle this, since he won’t debate me. Not in a duel, just target shooting with pistols, rifles, and shotguns.”
That the lady-pistol waving Roy Moore pretty much hid under cover of darkness throughout this campaign, refusing to debate his opponent, sticking to Bannon-like buzzwords, spook tactics, and sick lies about Jones’ stance on abortion, speaks volumes about his cowardly ways. Exactly what would he bring home to Alabama from Washington other than shame?
It snowed in Alabama the same day Trump showed up in Florida for his instructive rally. But a lot of local liberals felt all those pretty snowflakes might be a good omen for what’s to come on Tuesday. Voter turnout will be key. What remains to be seen is whether or not traditionally conservative Alabamians will follow the condescending instructions from an off-the-rails president, or will they choose the path of decency and hope for Alabama’s future.