It is not just women being harassed by rich and powerful men, as shameful as that harassment is in Me-Too America. It is more than that. It is the truth being harassed on a daily basis, and this country’s ideals being harassed, and our standing in the world, and the notion that our elected leaders, from the President on down, are supposed to represent our interests and not their own. These are all reasons why the rest of the world looks at us and sees the United States of Lies.
In the next couple of weeks, with a U.S. Senate for which Roy Moore is shockingly unfit, there will be a reckoning on where we are as a country right now, and how far down the rabbit hole we have fallen. They will vote in the Senate on a tax bill that is sold as the salvation of the middle class and not the rich. So there will be a referendum on that lie, and also on the courage of a handful of Republican Senators who have their own power to kill that bill.
Then there is the election in Alabama between Moore, a Bible-thumper accused of sexually preying on teens half his age, and a moderate Democrat named Doug Jones, who is just about every honorable thing that Moore is not. In that election on Dec. 12, Alabama voters are the ones who have the power to make a statement to the rest of the country about lies and hate and sex and tribalism, about an Alabama politician who is, in so many ways, the second coming of George Wallace.
You don’t think he is? Look at these quotes and decide whether it is Moore speaking in 2017 or Wallace speaking as that state’s governor in the 1960s:
1. “They’re building a bridge over the Potomac for all the white liberals fleeing to Virginia.”
2. We find we have replaced faith with fear … and though we may give lip service to the Almighty … In reality, government has become our god. It is, therefore, a basically ungodly government and its appeal to the pseudo-intellectual and the politician is to change their status from servant of the people to master of the people … The strong, simple faith and sane reasoning of our founding fathers has long since been forgotten.”
3. “We have blacks and whites fighting, reds and yellows fighting, Democrats and Republicans fighting, men and women fighting. What’s going to unite us? What’s going to bring us back together? A President? A Congress? No. It’s going to be God.”
4. “When I say they, who are ‘they?’ They’re liberals. They don’t hold conservative values. They … want to change our culture. They are socialists who want to change our way of life and put man above God and the government is our God. They’re the Washington establishment … who don’t want to lose their power.”
5. “I am a conservative. I intend to give the American people a clear choice. I welcome a fight between our philosophy and the liberal left-wing dogma which now threatens to engulf every man, woman, and child in the United States. I am in this race because I believe the American people have been pushed around long enough and that they, like you and I, are fed up with the continuing trend toward a socialist state which now subjects the individual to the dictates of an all-powerful central government.”
There is no need for a cheat sheet here, as impossible as it is to tell the two of them apart. The first two quotes are Wallace, the next two are Moore, the last is Wallace. The first quote from Wallace is from his first inaugural address in Alabama in 1963, one that famously included the line, “segregation now, segregation forever.”
The conventional wisdom, except in the slower thinking precincts of the media, really is that Moore is unfit for the Senate, whether he wins this run-off election or not. But perhaps we are being far too generous about the Senate. Because if there are enough Republicans in the Senate to pass this tax bill and send it to Donald Trump to be signed into law, then perhaps it is logical to think and say that Roy Moore will fit right in with the current Congress, currently fronted by political cowards like Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. Paul Ryan.
But at a time when lies really have become the real currency in America, when the Second Amendment has somehow become more important in the Republican Party than the First, voters in Alabama have the chance to speak their own truth to power. Because sending the new George Wallace to Washington does not just shame their state, it shames us all.
The Me-Too movement is not just about courage, it is about empowerment. It is women who once felt powerless now speaking their own truth to power, and voting men in power, in the media and in show business, the hell out of office.
Now we will find out about whether Moore has the votes in Alabama, whether McConnell has the votes with this sham of a tax bill. We will find out whether or not our values will be harassed all over again. And whether the real truth in the United States of Lies will be the country’s soul dying a little more.