‘Tis the season for sexual assault/harassment allegations, apparently, as several prominent celebrities have gotten hit with them and eventually saw their careers bite the dust. First there was Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, and then others in entertainment and media followed such as Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Charlie Rose, and Matt Lauer. Politicians were not immune, so figures such as Roy Moore (R), Al Franken (D), Trent Franks (D), Blake Farenthold (R), and John Conyers (D) were accused of sexual assault and/or harassment.
On the one hand, it is undoubtedly good that women are willing to speak out against misconduct and that some of these figures, who had gotten away with this behavior for years if not decades, finally saw some consequences for their actions. On the other hand, all of this has given us more evidence of how fractured America is along party lines. Both parties are trying to claim the moral high ground, not because they seem to really care about morals (if they did, they would police themselves a lot better) but because it is politically advantageous to do so while painting the other side as monsters. Consider how some of this played out regarding Roy Moore:
-Roy Moore gets accused of molesting a minor and going after multiple under-aged girls years ago. Though there is surely not enough evidence to ever go to court, much less get a conviction, the fact that multiple women with seemingly no hidden agenda said similar things certainly gave an air of credibility to the charges. Moore, however, refused to step down from the special election and practically concede the seat to a Democrat in a heavily conservative state, Alabama. Many Republicans distanced themselves from Moore, though others were suspicious about the timing of these bombshells from the liberal media.
-The Democrats gleefully took shots at the Republicans for this while bringing up Donald Trump’s video, though that isn’t a case of sexual assault and the association is a non sequitur (liberals did the same thing when they were trying to not feel too bad about Weinstein and others). Liberals had been sent reeling when a mostly liberal Hollywood was rocked by sexual assault allegations, and the reprieve was obviously appreciated.
-Republicans responded that Democrats stood by Bill Clinton despite multiple women coming forward that he was sexually inappropriate towards them, and some even took shots at the women. Democrats backpedaled and basically said, “Yeah, oops, we shouldn’t have done that, but A NEW SHERIFF IS IN TOWN ROY MOORE BETTER STEP DOWN!”
-Democrats then got smacked by sexual assault allegations towards long-time liberal Senators Al Franken and John Conyers. At first, many Democrats were defensive towards these liberal stalwarts, but when it became politically expedient to do so, they threw both of these men under the bus in order to have a weapon to attack both Moore and Trump with. Franken resigned and Conyers retired, trying to hand things over to his son.
-Despite this, many Republicans returned to Moore’s corner and double-downed, sensing that the Democrats were disingenuous because there was more at stake politically with the loss of Moore than the loss of either Franken or Conyers. Moore even seemed to change his story a bit, going from just denying that he went after minors without their parents’ permission to claiming that he never ever met these women.
-A highly contentious race ends with Moore losing anyway, with the Democrats winning a big seat in the Senate in a conservative state.
So what did we learn from all this? Well, not only does politics continue to suck in America, now we are so cynical that we care more about political expediency than standing on any principal. It used to be the left who did this more (I’m old enough to remember how many liberals rushed to the defense of Bill Clinton with, “I don’t care about the president’s personal morality, I only care if he will get the job done”), but now the right, the ones who allegedly care about morals and character, voted Donald Trump into office and then backed Moore in this fiasco (who, again, lost anyway, so talk about having egg on their faces). We are really starting to lose common ground when the other side is viewed as so bad that we’d rather back people with credible sexual assault allegations against them than concede an inch politically.
The willingness for either side to have rational, civil, and fair conversations is rapidly disappearing, and it is leading to further extremism. The Left has been drifting to the far left for some time; in fact, one reason that the Alabama Senate race was still so close was because the Democratic candidate, Doug Jones, is very left-wing, making it very difficult for any conservative to vote for him and feel like he and others will treat them fairly. I have zero doubt that if this happened in a historically liberal state that would not allow the Democrats to replace a candidate, the events would have played out much the same way: They would have rationalized that even voting in a person with very questionable character was better than allowing the hated conservatives from stealing a very important Senate seat.
What makes matters worse is that some Christians have bought into this idea that political victory must be sought at all costs (on both sides). Sometimes standing on principle will lead to significant political defeat and even some serious problems. Doug Jones, for example, will not be the least bit friendly to conservative principles or to the freedom of religion, if his political philosophy is any indication. Still, is it worth the damage to the witness of the church to double-down on Moore? It certainly wasn’t as widespread as the media tried to make it out to be, but it was still undoubtedly the case that many Christians would rather sacrifice their principles in order to get what they want politically.
We need to be better than this because we sure as heck can’t expect the world to be. That was one of the stupidest and most self-serving displays of political maneuvering I’ve ever seen. That any of these clowns can claim the moral high ground is rich indeed.