By James C. Nelson, Montana Supreme Court Justice (Ret.)
Scientists know that earth’s magnetic field flips every hundred thousand years or so, and when that happens one’s compass will point south, instead of north. A similar social phenomenon has already taken place in this Country. America’s Conscience and Principles field has flipped, and our moral compass is now, without doubt, firmly pointing in the wrong direction.
Case in point: Roy Moore, former twice-disgraced chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Moore first gained national recognition by erecting a large set of the Ten Commandments at the State’s highest court. He thumbed his nose at a federal court order to remove his marble edifice and then was removed from office himself. He ran for chief justice again, won, and was removed a second time for urging probate judges to ignore the constitutional right of same-sex individuals to marry.
Moore is one of those super-Christians who talks the talk, big time–but wouldn’t know how to walk the walk if someone gave him a guide dog.
That aside, Moore, as we all know, is now accused of molesting Alabama teenage girls during his legal career. Like most accused predators and pedophiles, he denies the charges, claiming that either he didn’t do it or that he didn’t even know the women who are now coming forward. There is evidence, written and unwritten, however, that he is a liar.
Moore’s alleged sexual perversions might be chalked up to his own personal failings. Unfortunately, though, his apparent predilection for molesting teenage girls, has now become the national failing of the Republican Party.
Keep in mind that this is the party that, sanctimoniously proclaims itself to be the party of “family values” at every opportunity. It is the party of fundamentalist Christians and the Christian Right. It is the unofficial party of many mainstream churches. It is the party of conservatives who profess their commitment to the Flag, the Constitution, pro-life, pro-religion, pro-gun, anti-gays and lesbians, and anti-Muslims. It is the party that claims the moral high ground.
Yet, with the President’s endorsement, the Republican Party is now firmly behind Moore in his bid to be elected to the U.S. Senate. It’s not clear where family values, Christianity and morals fits into that scenario, but Moore’s apologists are rising to his support like sewer gas coming out of a manhole. One evangelist pastor even went so far as to justify Moore’s conduct by analogizing him to Joseph, who with a teenage Mary, produced Jesus.
Seriously? Sexually assaulting teenage girls is OK based on the Nativity story?
So, why do the Republicans so desperately need Moore in the Senate that they’re willing to throw their family values and religion platforms under the bus. Why would they embrace a candidate with a judicial record that is disgraceful—times two? Why would the Republicans want to own a guy accused of pedophilia?
Well, the answer is simple. According to Kellyanne Conway, the GOP needs Moore’s vote. To be clear, they need a knee-jerk Republican; another ovine sycophant to toe the party line and to maintain their partisan majority power–Of the Party, By the Party, and For the Party. For the Republican Party, it is better to have an accused pervert in the Senate than a Democrat who may not vote as he’s told by Mitch McConnell. That’s it; no more, no less.
And, why should this come as a surprise? After all, POTUS is an unrepentant, in-denial sexual predator–if we are to believe his own conflicting on-camera statements and the accounts of the numerous women who claim being sexually assaulted by him. Too bad he didn’t belong to Moore’s church; he could have gotten a Nativity pass. After all, ‘Tis the Season.
And, then there’s Congress. Here’s a list of Congressmen involved in sexual scandals from 2010 to the present along with each person’s party designation and the year they were outed (more or less). Eric Massa, D, 2010; Mark Souder, R, 2010; Chris Lee, R, 2011; Anthony Weiner, D, 2011; Scott DesJarais, R, 2011(?); David Wu, D, 2011; Herman Cain, R, 2012; Vance McAlister, R, 2014; Blake Farenthold, R, 2014; Dennis Hastert, R, 2015; Tim Murphy, R, 2016(?); Al Franken, D, 2017; Joe Barton, R, 2017; John Conyers Jr., D, 2017, and Trent Franks, R, 2017. As bad as this looks, at least it appears that sexual predation in government is a bi-partisan enterprise.
Here’s a conundrum, though. At least of late, entertainment and media personalities who are charged with sexual predation are fired quicker than they can utter their first mea culpa. Not so politicians, however. They deny, threaten to sue their victims, offer some lame apology or excuse (just “locker room talk”) and, at worst, resign their public office with full benefits. They might even get the voters and taxpayers to pay hush money settlements to their victims.
Or, with candidates, like Moore, the Republican cry is “let the people of [Alabama] decide.” Well if all Moore did was to represent the parochial interests and values of Alabama, I might be inclined to say, “If y’all want an accused pedophile representing you, go for it.” The problem is that Moore, if he wins, will not simply be representing Alabama. He’ll be helping to make laws governing everybody—including us in Montana. He’ll also bring his Christian Right, holier than thou hypocrisy and bigoted views to his lawmaking. And, frankly, I suspect that most Montanans don’t want a bigot and accused sexual predator of teenage girls having anything to do with this State, much less making laws that affect our personal lives and liberties.
So, then, why is America’s moral compass pointing in the wrong direction. POTUS summed it up in his Access Hollywood comments—when you’re a star, you can do anything you want. And, of course, he’s right. You can do anything you want if you are the President or a member of or candidate for Congress or the majoritarian party. Grab ‘em; grope ‘em; endorse ‘em. It’s all good as long as the party gets their vote and stays in power.
Power (stardom) corrupts, and enough of it corrupts absolutely.
To describe this state of affairs as a moral morass is a gross understatement. Our Country has lost its principles and conscience.
And, if you think organized religions have the way, forget it. As long as the administration and political parties tell religious institutions what they want to hear; as long as politicians beat down and demonize LGBTQ people; as long as the stars sing the praises of family values; as long as people and the party in power parade their righteousness for all to see, the faith institutions are satisfied. Fat, dumb and happy. The churches do nothing; not a peep.
One would think the people religious would rise up in the face of this patent moral decay and come to the defense of sexually abused women and teenage girls; one would think that the religions would condemn presidents and politicians and candidates that live by the same moral code as johns and pimps. One would think that churches would cast out of office the predators, perverts, and pedophiles. Sadly, however, if you think that, you’d be wrong, again.
So, I am writing this because I am madder than hell; I am disgusted to the point of being physically ill; and I am sick of choking on the Christian hypocrisy that justifies the cconduct andmoral code of these perverts, predators and pedophiles.
And my greater frustration is that the principled Republicans and Democrats in Congress who actually could do something to flip the compass needle in the right direction are not willing to take a stand and do so. They simply don’t have the guts to do the right thing. They’re more concerned for their careers and parties and power than they are for our Country and We the People.
And, that’s too bad. There are so many grounds for impeachment, that the House could take its pick. The Senate could, with one bipartisan voice, tell the people of Alabama that that august body neither needs nor wants a senator with Roy Moore’s despicable credentials and baggage; and that if he’s elected he won’t be seated, POTUS’ endorsement to the contrary, notwithstanding.
The only bright spots in all of this are the growing numbers of women who have made a stand—brave women who are publically disclosing intimate, humiliating and degrading treatment from the “stars.” These female heroes—Time magazine’s persons of the year–have demonstrated the sort of resolve, courage and guts that eludes the lickspittles in Congress. Praise for the former; shame on the latter.
It’s simply high time that decent Republicans and Democrats find their principles, consciences, and spines, and do the right thing for a change. And that means getting rid of the perverts, predators and pedophiles in government starting at top and working down.
Principled politicians can flip America’s moral compass. And, they need to do that before the pointer gets stuck in the wrong direction for good.
James C. Nelson
Montana Supreme Court Justice (Ret.)
Helena, MT 59601
 In fairness, if you look at the article in fn 1, politicians and sexual scandals have a long history in this Country, starting with the founding fathers.
 The same way that the Senate refused to seat William A. Clarke, from Montana, in 1900. See, https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/contested_elections/089William_Clark.htm