This past Tuesday night, the entire nation was tuned in to a special election taking place in the state of Alabama for a Senate seat. The race pitted Democrat Doug Jones against the Republican candidate Roy Moore. Usually, such an election in a southern state like Alabama would never get the attention of anyone in Brooklyn. With office Christmas parties abound, and with the season bringing us matured winter weather even though the calendar says that we are technically still in autumn, you would think that our focus would be more on coquito and Christmas shopping, and less on some election that doesn’t have anything remotely to do with our communities. But this wasn’t just any special election. This was the latest crossing of paths of the varying climates of our nation, a referendum on our current state of affairs, the meeting of the Trump Doctrine, New American Racism (which is just the same old racism just dressed differently) and the #metoo movement. And so, Tuesday night we all watched this race in Alabama, knowing full well that the results would represent the temperature of our nation, and whether or not we were still deathly sick or getting better.
On November 9th, the Washington Post reported on an encounter that Mr. Moore allegedly had with a Ms. Leigh Corfman. Ms. Corfman contends that when she was 14 years old she was involved in a sexual encounter with Mr. Moore. At the time he was 32 years old. She claims that she met Mr. Moore while he was working as an Assistant District Attorney. Her claim is that Mr. Moore wooed her in the courtroom and eventually took her out on two dates. On their last date he allegedly engaged with her sexually. After the Post report, another woman, Ms. Beverly Young Nelson, made a statement saying that she was the victim of unwanted sexual advances from Mr. Moore when she was 15 and 16 years old. Her claim is that she once accepted a ride home from Mr. Moore, and after driving for a time he stopped the car, groped her and made attempts to force her head into his crotch.
Since that report in the Post, at least 7 other women have come forward claiming that Mr. Moore was inappropriate with them at some point, their ages ranging from 16-28 at the time of the harassment. In this current climate of women speaking truth to power regarding unwanted advances and harassment, the Roy Moore story took on national legs as many prominent leaders on both sides of the aisle began calling for him to step down from the campaign. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan joined the voices calling for an end to Moore’s campaign. But Moore had one voice in his corner that leveled support and attention. Donald Trump immediately aligned with Moore, accepting his denials and supporting his run. Trump’s words compelled the nation to take sides, those who believe in equality and justice versus those who only believe in their own insecurities and stereotypes. What was missing in all of the rhetoric was the case for Doug Jones, Roy Moore’s opponent. Jones is an accomplished attorney. He prosecuted the remaining two Klansmen responsible for the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in 1963 that killed four young girls. He was responsible for securing the indictment of the Atlanta Olympic Park Bomber. His record of service speaks for itself.
So, on Tuesday night we stood in a familiar place. An accomplished and qualified candidate versus a loudmouth whose allegations of wrongdoing rang louder than his qualifications. Sounds familiar? The state of Alabama went to the polls on Tuesday night, and their decision would reflect where we are headed as a nation.
The result? Doug Jones won. Trump’s blessing seems to be evolving into a “kiss of death”, and we as a nation are looking like we are getting better. With a little TLC and maybe an impeachment, we should be back to normal in no time.