- - Monday, November 13, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

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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