In the 241 years that the United States of America has been in existence, our democracy has functioned greatly in empowering qualified people to serve as judges, legislators and executives. This success is due to the fact that our democratic system allows the people as a whole, not just the media or political elites, to elect members to positions of power.
Why, in a special election in the state of Alabama, should we begin to alter the ways in which we have so successfully run our nation?
Judge Roy Moore, the Republican nominee in the special election held to fill the Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has been accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct. The accusers’ ages at the time of the alleged sexual misconduct range from 14-18 years old, and the accusations include inappropriate sexual comments and sexual contact such as groping.
Many prominent Republican and Democratic lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have called for Moore to suspend his campaign. Many well-known media figures such as Don Lemon have also been very vocal in their disdain for Moore.
The acts described in the allegations are disgusting and have no place in our society, and the women and their accusations toward Moore should be taken seriously.
The Washington Post reported that both Leigh Corfman and Wendy Miller were 14 at the time Moore, 32, took each of the girls on a date. Leigh Corfman was sexually assaulted while on a date with Moore, and another accuser, Tina Johnson, alleges that Moore also sexually assaulted her by groping her after a meeting about a legal issue.
However, there is no judicial way to confirm whether or not Judge Roy Moore is guilty. In a criminal investigation, Moore would be considered innocent until proven guilty by a jury of his peers. Because there is no criminal investigation yet, the voters of Alabama must act as a jury.
The only common sense solution is to allow the citizens of Alabama to analyze the information available and give their verdict in the ballot box.
In our country with our democratic system, the people should make the final decision on the issue of the Moore’s fitness to be Senator, not the media or politicians in D.C. What is a better way of finding the opinion of the people than having them vote?
If the people of Alabama find a problem with the actions of Judge Moore, they will not elect him to office. And if the voters in Alabama do not find a problem and elect Judge Roy Moore, then this election could serve as a sign that party allegiances will overtake any moral issues of candidates. However, interfering in a free and fair election is not the answer.
The voters in Alabama must decide the fate of Judge Roy Moore not only because of the democratic system we have in place but also because a large portion of the American electorate has a distrust in the media and establishment politicians.
Polling done in early October from Reuters-Ipsos shows that 45 percent of the American people says they have “hardly any” confidence in the press. In addition, the Washington Post published polling data towards the end of October that shows only 14 percent of Americans say they view ethics and honesty of politicians as excellent or good.
The media and establishment politicians are the bodies of power leading the charge against Roy Moore, and the American people show distrust in both. If the pressure from politicians in Washington and the media pushes Moore out of the race, the distrust amongst voters will only worsen.
Although the allegations against Roy Moore are more than likely to be true, and Moore, in the eyes of anyone with a moral compass, does not deserve to be senator, the people of Alabama must make the decision on whether or not Moore will represent them. The American voter has been trusted since the establishment of this nation, and the trust shouldn’t be broken now.
Moreover, the distrust between the American people and the media and establishment politicians is already dangerous, and interference in the Alabama special election will send a terrible message to people across America.