Last Friday, Alabama governor Kay Ivey stated that she plans to vote for Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore despite a recent onslaught of sexual abuse allegations.
Shortly after a press conference at the Governor’s Mansion in Montgomery, Alabama, Ivey mused about the “curious” timing of Moore’s allegations. However, Ivey also explained that she had no reason to disbelieve the women who have accused Moore of abuse.
The inherent cognitive dissonance created by Ivey’s willingness to believe the women who have accused Moore still isn’t enough to change her impending vote.
“I will cast my ballot on December the 12,” Ivey said. “And I do believe that the nominee of the party is the one I will vote for… That’s what I plan to do is vote for Republican nominee Roy Moore.” Ivey can be seen explaining the rationale for her vote in a video posted by Alabama Media Group contributor Julie Bennett.
The Republican Party currently holds a 52-48 majority in the United States Senate. Ivey hopes to contribute to that majority by voting for Moore.
“And most important,” Ivey said, “we need to have a Republican in the United States Senate to vote on the things like Supreme Court Justices, other appointments the Senate has to confirm and make major decisions.”
8 women have publicly accused Moore of sexual behavior ranging from questionable to potentially illegal. But Ivey claims that the most important issue at hand is placing an Alabaman Republican in another Senate seat.
The allegations against Moore have not yet been processed through the court system which means that Moore maintains his innocence until proven guilty. Yet it’s worth imagining the worst case scenario in which the allegations against Moore are true and he is voted into the Senate without justice having been served for his victims.
In such a scenario, Ivey’s statements confirm that the character and motivations of the people who represent the Republican Party bear no weight on her decision to endorse a nominee. And this means Ivey cares little to nothing about the impact a Senate member’s inner life has on his or her decision-making.
Ivey isn’t asking herself questions about how much Moore values the lives of the vulnerable. She isn’t asking herself questions about how well Moore is able to set aside his own gratification for the good of the whole. She isn’t even asking for an investigation to be launched or expedited in order to prove that these allegations are false.
She just cares about getting another Republican in the Senate.
If these allegations are true, Moore would have had to first dehumanize the women he victimized. He would have had to completely remove from his mind their entitlement to dignity, respect, and control over their own bodies. He would have had to decide in his mind that his desire to overpower them and force them to appease his own desires was the most important issue at hand— regardless of harm caused and rights infringed.
If these allegations are true, what enabled Moore to do what he did to those 8 women isn’t the result of just some whim or impulse: it’s the result of a habitual thirst for power and dominance that overrides any empathy or compassion for the victimized.
Whether or not Ivey wants to acknowledge it, Moore’s inner life does matter. The allegations against Moore illustrate a tendency to place the highest value on his own gratification. They may even illustrate a willingness to be dishonest when the reality of his behavior could potentially thwart the desired outcome.
But, most importantly, these allegations may illustrate a deviance in thinking that could very well influence Moore’s decision-making as a Senate member.
When policies that directly impact women slide across his desk, will he see the women impacted as fully human and experience compassion or will his advocacy for women be snuffed out by indifference? In the face of an incentive to do otherwise, will Moore desire to protect and empower the vulnerable of our country — the poor, the marginalized — or will his thirst for power and self-gratification override his responsibility to the people?
What Moore has allegedly thought and done in private is bound to leak publicly through declaration or deed— it would just be a matter of time.
Ivey’s commitment to vote for Moore in lieu of pursuing justice for the women he has allegedly victimized raises concerns about what we expect of the men and women who make decisions about the resources we have access to and the rights to which we’re entitled.
This also raises concerns about who else is willing to give someone the authority of a government role despite potential lapses in character. Who else is willing to disregard a tendency to dehumanize others for self-gratification? Who else is willing to excuse deviant behavior for the sake of bipartisan competition?
Kay Ivey’s declaration last Friday ultimately raises concerns about the people with whom we bump shoulders every election day. As we look at Kay, we slowly pan the camera left and ask, but what about the voters?
Voters can now walk into a booth or scroll through campaign ads on Facebook and ask themselves, “If the governor of Alabama, with all her competence and responsibility as an elected official, has no desire to consider the character of the candidate she endorses, why should I?”
This isn’t just about Ivey — this is about the culture, the petri dish within which motivations like those of Ivey grow. This is about the incubation of selfishness and collusion-by-indifference without disapproval from peers. This is about a willingness to overlook a candidate’s track record, regardless of potential harm, just to be able to say, “our side won.”
This, my friend, is about America’s character.
It’s about a national crisis of judgment.
And no good fruit can come from it.
43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers.45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. (Luke 6:43-45 NIV)
What do you think? How much bearing should one’s past have on their ability to be elected or confirmed into positions of power?
The best parts of our minds are shaped by dialogue— share your thoughts!
Originally published on Medium.com.