By: Connor McNairn, Columnist
Last week, my column analyzed Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s legislation pertaining to sexual harassment processes in the U.S. Congress. Gillibrand put forward courageous legislation that targeted the monotonous processes that currently complicate victims’ ability to pursue their attackers. Simply, the bill proposed by Gillibrand is designed to help those in Congress gain better access to sexual harassment resources.
With this in mind, this week allegations emerged about U.S. Senate hopeful Roy Moore. According to multiple sources, Moore – an embattled Alabama Republican – pursued relationships with underage girls when he was in his 30s. While most recognize that such relationships would be morally repugnant and obviously illegal, Washington has still found a way to debate this issue. But before diving into the politicization of sexual harassment charges, one must fully recognize the controversy that surrounds Moore in order to understand the gravity of this issue.
Moore served as a judge on the Alabama Supreme Court. Having been removed from the court twice, Moore has made his fair share of controversial remarks and decisions. For example, he suggested that the 9/11 attacks were a result of Americans distancing themselves from God. Equally as controversial, Moore believed that President Barack Obama was not born in America – a narrative also advanced by current President Donald Trump. Moore even believed that Representative Keith Ellison should not be allowed to take the congressional oath because he is a Muslim. Moore’s bigoted jurisprudence and political ideology have been motivated by a dedication to “religion.” However, this week’s harassment allegations have the Christian candidate on his heels.
According to a Washington Post report earlier this week, Moore was accused by several women of sexual harassment and assault, including one who claimed that Moore initiated sexual contact with her when she was just 14. While Moore denies the allegations – a rather unsurprising response – it is the reaction from media outlets and prominent Republicans that is more striking.
According to White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, we should not allow a “mere allegation” to “destroy a person’s life.” This is an incredible statement coming directly from the Trump administration. To describe these allegations as “mere,” and to be more concerned with Moore’s life than the woman whom he assaulted is preposterous. But Sanders’s statements were not the only ones that were reprehensible.
The majority of notable Republicans responded to the allegations by saying that if they were true, Moore should step down from his campaign. But Sean Hannity, the controversial Fox News talking head, made headlines last week when attempting to qualify Moore’s actions. Hannity, who repeatedly insisted that there was no way to prove the allegations, also noted that Moore’s relationships with the underage girls were “consensual.” There is something seriously wrong with this country’s political dialogue when major news networks undermine sexual assault investigations with claims of consent.
Moving forward, the candidate must absolutely step down. Because candidate Moore and his opponent, Doug Jones, have been officially registered for the election since October, a Moore withdraw would essentially seal a Democratic victory for the Alabama seat. Given this possible outcome, it is no surprise that Republicans are so unwilling to openly condemn Moore. Both the Republican party and the state of Alabama must decide that humanity is more important than political victory. Then again, the GOP is actively supporting a candidate who claimed that “the transgenders don’t have rights,” so don’t be too surprised if they don’t wholeheartedly disavow the alleged predator.