By Senator, Lena C. Taylor
In 1996 Tupac Shakur released the title track off his epic album All Eyez on Me. There was a notable line in the first verse that said “I bet you got it twisted, you don’t know who to trust”. For the last several weeks, Republican voters in Alabama were likely feeling the sting of those lyrics as they tried to decide whether or not to trust U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore or the 9 women who came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct. Many of the women, who allege that they were minors when the incidents took place, were found to be credible by many who listened to their stories, learned of corroborating witnesses, or heard about Moore being banned from his local mall due to fears that he was harassing young girls while they shopped.
Yet all eyes were on Alabama on Tuesday, as polling locations closed and election results started to come in. Despite the many who lined up to denounce Moore, the country stood in disbelief as the U.S. President threw his full support behind the controversial candidate. Religious foundations were cracked when over a dozen faith leaders stood publicly with the alleged child molester because of his defense of the “unborn, the Ten Commandments, and the Constitution.” Even former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke rushed to campaign for Roy Moore, reiterating “You folks have all of America’s eyes on you the last couple of months,” and calling the accusations “crap”. And when Alabama’s female Governor Kay Ivey, said she had no reason not to believe the accusers, but confirmed she would still be voting for Moore by saying “So, that’s what I plan to do, vote for Republican nominee Roy Moore”, his election seemed likely.
In the high profile endorsements and unwavering core supporters for Moore, we managed to forget that more than 300 faith leaders condemned his alleged sexual harassment as “sinful”. We needed to be reminded that Sen. John McCain said Moore should step aside and others Republicans to include Mitt Romney and Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby said the Republican Party could do better. We didn’t factor in the 9 accusers who remained steadfast, even when they were being slandered and resolved that they were “done being silent”. When it seemed that party politics would win, basic decency prevailed.
Doug Jones, Moore’s Democratic opponent, said in his victory speech “At the end of the day, this — this entire race has been about dignity and respect. This campaign — this campaign has been about the rule of law. This campaign has been about common courtesy and decency and making sure everyone in this state, regardless of which ZIP code you live in, is going to get a fair shake in life’. The margin of votes between the two men were small, just a little over 20,000 votes decided the winner. Jones ended with a quote from Dr. King, “The moral arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice.” Tonight, tonight, ladies and gentlemen, tonight, tonight in this time, in this place, you helped bend that moral arc a little closer to that justice and you did it, not only was it bent more, not only was its aim truer but you sent it right through the heart of the great state of Alabama in doing so”. Thank you, Alabama, for reminding us all what decency looks like.