Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

It’s Time to Act on the Alabama Senate Race

Courtesy of Furman Athletics

For the past two decades, democrats in Alabama have had almost no representation on the national level. We have never had a democratic senator, likely because the state’s congressional districts are drawn to limit democrats to only 1 of 7 seats in Congress, though nearly 35 percent of constituents voted for Hillary Clinton in the most recent presidential elections.Despite the underlying problems in Alabama politics, the reality is that on December 12, 2017, democrat Doug Jones has a legitimate chance to defeat republican candidate Roy Moore in a special senatorial race to replace Attorney General Jeff Session’s vacated seat.

The democratic party can no longer be an opposition party. Instead, democrats must proactively participate in politics by voting for energetic, qualified candidates that represent liberal values and understand conservative principles. They must win elections like this one: Jones versus Moore.

Jones grew up during the heart of the civil rights movement and is distinguished by his belief that the law should protect all citizens. He made his name as a U.S. Attorney, and he is known for prosecuting Ku Klux Klan members affiliated with the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in 1963 that killed four African-American girls in Birmingham. After years in the private sector, he announced his candidacy for the upcoming U.S. Senate election this past May.

On the Republican side is Roy Moore, who was molded by military service. Later, Moore returned to Gadsden to serve as a prosecutor in Etowah County. By 1992, Moore was the circuit-court judge, and he adopted the practices of pre-session prayers and hanging the Ten Commandments in his courtroom. In June 1995, these offenses led to a lawsuit which challenged Moore’s policies as unconstitutional. Moore, however, vowed to continue his prayers, and the public supported him. In 2001, Moore was sworn in as the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.

Moores’ tenure as Chief Justice was riddled with controversy. In 2002, Moore suggested that Alabama should reprimand homosexual behavior in the case of D.H. v. H.H. In addition, he constructed a new monument of the Ten Commandments in the state Courthouse, which led to his dismissal from office for violating ethics. Yet, in 2012, Moore won his seat back. This reinforced a dangerous pattern: Alabama’s voters repeatedly rewarded Moore for living above the law. As a result, in January 2015, Moore unconstitutionally ordered lower Alabama courts not to grant marriage licenses to gay partners. Thus, Moore was removed from office for violating judicial ethics once again. In October, just over a year later, Moore was leading Jones by eight points in their race for Alabama’s open Senate seat.

Ultimately, Alabama’s voters have two options. They can vote for Doug Jones, a democrat, or Roy Moore, a homophobic, chauvinist who embodies an “America first” ideology characterized by the fear that social reform, gay marriage and minority rights undermine republican values.

In the upcoming election, Alabamians will determine the strength of this movement. Will the “silent majority” continue unchecked to form its own phobic political identity? Will we reward representatives that reject the rule of law?

History and the polls say that yes, Roy Moore will win, but Jones has recently been trending up in polls, closely trailing and even challenging Moore for the lead. His message that “America is a land of laws, justice, freedom, equality, and opportunity” underlines the most prominent difference between the two candidates. Jones believes all people deserve to be protected by the law. Moore believes that the law protects those that he, and God, deem worthy.

With the election just over a month away, Moore’s Christian moral authority has been called into serious question. On Nov. 9, The Washington Post published a story accusing Moore of initiating a sexual encounter with Leigh Korfman, a 14-year-old girl, when he, a 32-year-old, was working as District Attorney. Though Moore has denied all accusations, his reputation as a champion of conservative values has been all but destroyed.

On Dec. 12, 2017, Alabama will vote. In light of Moore’s career and recent accusations, I have already filled out my ballot for Doug Jones. I urge my fellow Alabamians, Republicans and Democrats, to do the same.

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