In an era of zero tolerance for pedophiles, Alabama voters seem to be taking an enlightened attitude that should send a message to the rest of the nation.
Judge Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate and former state supreme court justice, has been accused of sexually molesting a 14-year-old girl in 1979 when Moore himself was 32 and an assistant district attorney in Alabama.
Four other women also have accused Moore of making sexual advances when they were teenagers. One said she was only 16 when Moore tried to push her face into his lap.
Moore has denied the accusations, telling a TV interviewer that as a gentleman he always asked a mother’s permission first. Permission to do what? Ram a teenager’s face into his crotch?
Stories are appearing on an almost daily basis about men undressing in front of grown women during social encounters, revealing their genital organs and indulging in self-gratification.
People throughout the country have denounced such behavior in the strongest terms and ridiculed men who use their powerful positions to intimidate and humiliate women.
In statehouses across the country, it turns out, male politicians were sexually harassing women for decades. Yes, men who used their positions to enrich themselves and their friends at the expense of taxpayers also often attempted to extort sexual favors from female colleagues and constituents.
Throughout the nation, across all economic and social strata, there is disgust and outrage.
Just when it appeared there was no safe place left for men who felt it was their right to sexually abuse women, Alabama stepped up to the plate and said, “We don’t care as long as the abuser is a conservative.”
Actually, what some Alabama residents said was that even if Judge Moore molested a 14-year- old girl, it didn’t matter because as a Christian he had likely begged for God’s forgiveness long ago.
For decades, the Catholic church adopted a similar attitude toward pedophile priests, which led to repeated sexual attacks on children over decades.
The American public (perhaps outside of Alabama) rejected the practice of the church forgiving and excusing the behavior of priests after several widely publicized sex scandals.
Pedophilia in general was condemned. Men have actually been chemically castrated by court order. In Illinois and elsewhere, any conviction is treated like a scarlet letter, with the names, addresses and photographs of sexual predators placed on web sites.
Even an unsubstantiated allegation that a child has been molested could cost a teacher or football coach his job.
But an Alabama county Republican chairman named Jerry Pow said that he would still consider supporting Moore for the U.S. Senate even if he had committed a sex crime because he “wouldn’t want to vote for Doug (Jones),” the Democratic candidate.
In fact, many Alabama residents interviewed on national TV expressed the view that it would be better to have a child predator representing the state in the Senate than a Democrat.
And that’s when I realized that whether Moore is elected or eventually withdraws from the Senate race, this is may be the dawning of an enlightened period in humanity’s treatment of child predators.
In the future Illinois and other states could send child predators to Alabama, instead of prison, where they would be welcomed and honored. Heck, they might eventually get themselves elected to Congress.
In exchange, folks up North would offer to accept every Democrat moving out of Alabama as a way of ridding that state of individuals who, in the eyes of Republican voters, are worse than child molesters.
People had told me that Alabama was no longer the backward, racist state it was back in the 1960s. Until now, I had no idea how the place had changed.
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