First off, I don’t assume to speak for the entire state of Alabama. I do speak for a lot of Alabamians and probably the majority of Republican leaning voters in the state. I am not going to cover the allegations in detail, or the credibility of them, as that has been throughly covered elsewhere. I want to explain the back story and why many Alabamians are more skeptical of the allegations, even when viewing the exact same information as the rest of you.
Roy Moore has been involved in controversy at almost every stop of his career. As a Deputy D.A., he convened a grand jury to look into the finances of the Etowah County Sheriff’s Office. Shortly after that, a state bar investigation was launched against Moore for “suspect conduct”. The investigation concluded that the charges were unfounded and dismissed the complaint. In his 1982 run for Circuit Judge, Moore claimed that cases were being delayed for payoffs. After losing, a second complaint was made against Moore to the state bar, which was also determined to be unfounded also. Upon his appointment to Circuit Judge in 1992, he brought his wooden Ten Commandments plaque and hung it in his courtroom. In 1993, in a case involving the murder trial of two male strippers, their attorney objected to the display. The ACLU issued a letter to Moore, and then filed suit in 1995 for the plague and Moore’s opening prayer for “Divine guidance”. After several back and forth rulings allowing and removing the two issues, the case was dismissed for technical reasons in 1998.
In 2001, Moore placed a 2.5 ton granite Ten Commandments monument in the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building, which included quotes from the Founding Fathers, Declaration of Independence, etc. Soon after, the ACLU, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State and the Southern Poverty Law Center, among others, filed suit. Federal Judge Myron Thompson ordered it removed and fined the state $5,000 per day if it remained. Moore refused. He was brought up on ethics charges by the Alabama JIC, forwarded to the Alabama COJ, which is an appointed panel of judges, lawyers and non-legal professionals. They removed him from office. Moore was elected Chief Justice again in 2012. In 2016, they suspended him again over his Administrative Order that lower court judges should uphold the same-sex marriage prohibition of the Alabama Constitution until the Alabama Supreme Court issued a further ruling. They did not have the votes to remove Moore, so they suspended him for the remainder of his term. This was an attempt to circumvent the law, and Moore found many judges who sided with him on this issue, though he was unable to get the decision reversed. In both cases, Moore argued against the authority of the federal court to intervene in these state matters.
At every stop of Moore’s career, he has been hit with ethics complaints and lawsuits. All have been dismissed as unfounded except the two that removed him from office as Chief Justice. He has been opposed by the power players in the Republican Party throughout his career, in addition to the Democrat Party and the media. Moore brings a lot of his issues on himself. He is a bomb thrower. However, it is easy to see that there is a pattern to take him out at every stop, even if you believe some of those efforts are justified. Moore’s political enemies include former governors and other state political leaders, Alabama Supreme Court justices, Karl Rove, Mitch McConnell, Senate Leadership Fund, all the Democrats, every liberal media outlet in the state and nation, ACLU, SPLC, etc. To people that don’t like the current GOP Congressional leadership (the country club wing, as I like to call them) and the Democrats, Moore has all of the right enemies. What has never been alleged until the last week, is that he wasn’t a moral person or a person of high character.
Then we have to step back and take a look at Alabama, where we are and where we came from. Alabama is generally looked down on by the rest of the country. We are backwoods, redneck, morons, who are dirt poor with no teeth and marry our cousins, or so the stereotype goes. Stereotypes are typically based on some nuggets of truth, but we don’t all fit that profile or even a majority. However, for decades, this has been the national attitude toward Alabama. George Wallace was popular for his stand on segregation. But Wallace’s popularity was always more attributable to his attitude toward Washington to stick it where sun doesn’t shine, as it was the issue itself. Wallace was cheered for telling the federal government to go to hell. Moore’s career has been built on telling the federal government the same thing. The national derogatory attitude toward Alabama is part of the reason that we love college football so much. It is the one thing that Alabama beats the rest of the nation at, being the dominant program for 3 of the last 6 decades, including having the sport’s two greatest coaches.
Alabama’s attitude is summed up by Lynyrd Skynyrd in “Sweet Home Alabama” (an answer to Young’s disparaging songs “Southern Man” and “Alabama”) with the following line:
Well, I heard Mister Young sing about her.
Well, I heard ol’ Neil put her down.
Well, I hope Neil Young will remember,
A southern man don’t need him around anyhow.
It is still the most popular song in Alabama and is belted out at least once by over 100,000 fans in Bryant-Denny stadium at every home game.
Now we have a man in Roy Moore that is beloved by many (and despised by many too). He has controversy that follows him everywhere, a lot it self-inflicted. Over the course of Moore’s career, the people that have attacked him are not us. They are liberal groups. The are our “betters” in the GOP country club wing. These people despise Roy Moore and always have. So when 38 and 40 year old allegations come out about a man, that contradicts public knowledge of his character over the last 40 years, out of left field, it is suspicious. The Washington Post, a New York City press conference, Gloria Allred and Washington D.C., some of the many people that have called us backwoods, redneck, moron, toothless hillbillies, are now saying trust us that these allegations are true. They run counter to what we know of Moore’s character over the last 40 years and were somehow missed by every opposition research team that has come after Moore for 20 years, 5 statewide campaigns and 2 national judicial showdowns. We also absorb this story knowing that at every stop, they have come after Moore with ethics charges, character assassinations and whatever else they can find, to get rid of him.
This doesn’t mean that we reject the possibility that the allegations could be true. It doesn’t mean that we agree with Moore on all the issues, that he is on some pedestal or that he doesn’t self-inflict a lot of damage. Many of us voted for Mo Brooks in the primary as our first and best choice. It does mean that we aren’t going to trust people that have made a career out of lying to us. They despise us and our way of life. Now, we are supposed to take them at face value that the people they found are telling the truth. This is why most people in Alabama don’t believe the allegations. There is trust gap that exists between the national media, elites of both parties and the people of Alabama. A gap that they have created over the years and a gap that won’t disappear overnight.
And yes, I managed to get Alabama football and Lynyrd Skynyrd into an article about politics. Mama would be proud.