Roy Moore is grossly unfit to serve in the United States Senate. Fourteen-years ago, he was removed from his position as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court for violating court orders to remove a monument of the 10 Commandments in the Alabama Judicial Building. Ten years later, he was reelected to the position of Chief Justice, but found himself in hot water once again for continuing to enforce Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban even after the ban had been labeled as unconstitutional.
Moore has stoked racist, xenophobic, bigoted flames ever since his entering into the public eye. Moore was a leader in the “birther movement” who falsely claimed that President Obama was not born in the United States. Moore has stated that he believes recent mass shootings are a result of removing the “acknowledgement of God” from American society. Moore also believes that Islam is a “false religion” and claimed that Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison was unfit to serve because of his religion.
Moore has sold himself to voters in Alabama for the past 40 years as being a principled Christian Republican. He is the founder and president of the Foundation for Moral Law. Running on these so-called principles, Moore ran for Jeff Sessions vacant Senate seat in the Republican primary, eventually defeating Luther Strange for the nomination. However, Moore’s façade as a principled Christian all came crumbling down on Nov. 9 when the Washington Post reported that Moore had initiated a sexual encounter with a 14 year-old girl when he was 32. Since then, four more women have come forward accusing him of sexual misconduct.
One would expect members of both parties and of all walks of life to come together to create a unified call for Moore to step aside in the race. But as 2017 has shown, this was never going to be the case. Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler reacted to the allegations by using the Biblical story of Mary and Joseph to claim that there was “nothing immoral or illegal” about Moore’s sexual misconduct with children. This outrageous claim, although clickbait for news networks, is not the real concern in the response to the Moore’s claims. The greater concern is the use of the word “if.” Republicans, such as Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, have prefaced their statements with the phrase “if it is true.”
This phrase is incredibly problematic; by not unequivocally condemning Moore’s actions, like Sen. John McCain and Mitt Romney and numerous other conservatives have, they are leaving room to be filled by those with a political agenda. Outlets like Breitbart have already attempted to say that the allegations are false and are not disqualifying. Moreover, these weak responses allow for Roy Moore to further claim, like he has, that these women are lying. These statements do not put enough pressure for Moore to drop out of the race. Moore has shown no indication that he plans to drop out of the race. In fact, he has even used these allegations, which he calls “fake news,” to further an agenda against the Democrats and the mainstream media. If this was not disgusting enough, Moore has used the recent allegations of sexual misconduct against children to fundraise. Hours after the post published their story, Moore sent out an email asking for donations to fight the “Obama-Clinton Machine’s liberal media lapdogs.” Those who do not strongly condemn Moore allow for him to take these actions. If Moore stays in the race, which he seems content with doing, he will deny these allegations. If Republicans do not release statements telling voters that they believe the women, they are creating an aura of doubt among these allegations which further perpetuates the stigma that individuals face when coming forward with stories of sexual misconduct or sexual assault.
If Moore is going to deny these allegations, he ought to be the only one saying so; Republicans should stand unified against him and should signal to voters in Alabama that they will expel him from Senate if they vote him into office. These allegations are damning and these women have the right to be believed. This is not a political issue. If Roy Moore is not going to drop out of the race, voters should go to the polls and send the message that they will never tolerate sexual abuse of minors. If voters do not send the message that these kinds of actions are not tolerated in American politics, then lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have the duty to take action to send this message. Under Article I, Section V of the United States Constitution states that “Each House [of Congress] may determine the Rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.” The Constitution clearly provides a framework to expel a member. If there were any reason for expulsion, I would be safe to assume that sexual misconduct against minors would fit the definition for “disorderly behavior.” This is not a time for weak statements; these allegations should be believed and make Roy Moore grossly unfit to serve in the United States Senate.