The unraveling cul­ture

An ex­plo­sion of sex­ual as­sault ex­poses a dark strain in the na­tional char­ac­ter

The Washington Times Weekly - - Editorials -

The times are not just “a’chang­ing,” as Bob Dy­lan sang of them — but they’re unraveling. Dis­mem­ber­ing of the cul­ture is at hand, and only the blind and fool­ish can­not see it. His­tory is trashed and any­one who ob­jects is a bigot, or worse. Pale-skinned Amer­i­cans are vil­i­fied for liv­ing in­no­cent lives, ex­ploit­ing “white priv­i­lege.” Bulls-eyes are painted on the backs of con­ser­va­tives and Repub­li­cans be­cause, well, they’re con­ser­va­tives and Repub­li­cans. Ev­ery man is a sex­ual preda­tor, or will be soon. Throw­ing brick­bats at un­pop­u­lar tar­gets can be great fun, but what goes around comes around.

Roy Moore is a Repub­li­can who built a ca­reer on his rep­u­ta­tion as a Chris­tian. Ev­ery man’s re­la­tion­ship is be­tween him and God, and who is a third party to judge that re­la­tion­ship? But as the old black spir­i­tual ob­serves, “every­body talkin’ ‘bout heaven ain’t goin’ there.” Ac­cu­sa­tions of out­ra­geous be­hav­ior three and four decades ago con­tinue to ac­cu­mu­late against him, and with this much smoke it’s dif­fi­cult for the most skep­ti­cal to be­lieve there’s never been a fire.

Mr. Moore, a former state pros­e­cu­tor and jus­tice of the Alabama Supreme Court, in­sists that none of what he is ac­cused of ever hap­pened. The lat­est ac­cu­sa­tion, by a fifth Alabama woman, is that more than three decades ago Mr. Moore signed her high-school year­book when she was a 16 and he was the 30-year-old county pros­e­cu­tor, then of­fered her a ride home and in­stead drove to a se­cluded park­ing lot, tore off her clothes and at­tempted to rape her. She pro­duced the year­book with Mr. Moore’s signed greet­ing writ­ten across the top of a page (signed, “love”.)

Some of the voices of the chat­ter­ing class had not waited for ad­di­tional tes­ti­mony sup­port­ing the ear­lier ac­cu­sa­tions. Chris Cuomo of CNN re­peated the con­ve­nient ca­nard that ev­i­dence is not nec­es­sary in some sex­ual crimes, and wanted to get on with the hang­ing. “Their word, their ac­cu­sa­tion is proof, right?” This is bizarre from a man who is a lawyer, even if a lawyer play­ing a tele­vi­sion talk­ing head.

Men in high places will some­times lie when caught at hanky-panky, as Bill Clin­ton demon­strated when cred­i­bly ac­cused of rap­ing and beat­ing Juanita Broad­drick. Many of the Democrats who are ea­ger to de­nounce Roy Moore brushed aside Mrs. Broad­drick’s story and ap­plauded when Hil­lary set out to de­stroy the rep­u­ta­tions of the string of women who ac­cused Mr. Clin­ton of sex­ual ha­rass­ment and worse.

Women who claim sex­ual of­fense are not al­ways in­no­cent, as demon­strated in highly cel­e­brated in­ci­dents at Duke, where the lacrosse team was ac­cused of rap­ing a dancer hired to en­ter­tain them, and at the Univer­sity of Vir­ginia, where sev­eral fra­ter­nity broth­ers were sim­i­larly ac­cused. All of the ac­cused were sub­se­quently found in­no­cent of the charges against them.

The early rush to judg­ment of Roy Moore by the Repub­li­can lead­er­ship threat­ened to re­duce the ac­cu­sa­tions against him to mere pol­i­tics. The Repub­li­cans, no less than the Democrats, are think­ing mostly of that seat in the U.S. Se­nate, which may be within reach now of both par­ties. The po­lite par­lor word for this par­ti­san out­rage, we sup­pose, is “un­seemly.” But it’s more than merely un­seemly. It’s ugly.

Pres­i­dent Trump says he thinks Roy Moore will do the right thing. The pres­i­dent’s party clearly thinks that means Mr. Moore will with­draw from the race, though there may be no le­gal way to erase his name from the bal­lot. That cre­ates sev­eral in­ter­est­ing com­pli­ca­tions. Doug Jones, the Demo­cratic can­di­date who was writ­ten off as a sac­ri­fi­cial lamb in deep-red Alabama only a month ago, might be the fa­vorite now. Or maybe not. Sen. Mitch McCon­nell, the Repub­li­can leader in the Se­nate, talks of a write-in can­di­date, if one can be found. Mr. Moore has in­sisted that he won’t with­draw, so there could be three can­di­dates, and any one of them, in­clud­ing Roy Moore, could be elected. It’s a mess. This is what hap­pens when the cul­ture un­rav­els.

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