Well, we all knew the biggest cultural, social and political moment of this last week would be the election of the new Senator from Alabama. On Tuesday, I was already organizing this column around a win by accused sexual predator Roy Moore and thinking that I would have to invoke Harper Lee, Zelda Fitzgerald and Tallulah Bankhead to reduce the distasteful factor. (And I will, but I’m going to circle around to get there.)
Of course, I was holding out a thin hope that Robert Mueller might drop something good, but that seemed unlikely. Besides, if I were Mueller, I’d try to hold off just a bit longer on any new indictments because nothing would say “Have yourself a merry little Christmas” like a perp walk right before Santa comes to town.
But putting wishful thinking aside and returning to the jaded perspective with which I am more comfortable, I was fairly certain that Alabama would go for Moore. Even when the early exit polling indicated that an unusually heavy African American voter turnout had pushed its percentage of the electorate up to a high of 30%, I pulled out my calculator, ran a little calculation of my own and said to my husband, “Well, that’s going to make it really close, but not close enough.”
Then, when the vote margin narrowed to a couple of thousand and then flipped in favor of Doug Jones, it seemed that Jesus himself had leaned into my ear and whispered, “Oh, ye of little faith.” With divine intervention, it was to rethink this column.
So the vision I had of Roy Moore going to Washington is not to be. No footage of Moore riding Sassy up Capitol Hill (no doubt with the poor horsemanship he showed riding her on Election Day) and tethering her while he went to the Senate Chamber. There’s a jab in here about Moore doing figuratively on the Senate floor what Sassy would be doing literally in the parking lot, but my mother simply would not approve of such an allusion. At least not in writing.
Nor will we see how Mitch McConnell would have dealt with Moore’s arrival. Would there have been a Senate Ethics Committee investigation? Possible expulsion? All academic now. Moore’s the pity, and pardon the pun.
And poor Ted Cruz. It might have improved his disposition to have found himself not to be the most disliked person in the Senate. But look on the bright side, Ted. Even if Roy Moore couldn’t do it by replacing you as the least popular Senator, Beto O’Rourke might do it by replacing you. Period.
As for the Democrats, please try to remember that Republican support for Moore from the top down means there is political hay to be made against any Republican who was so ill advised as to support Moore in front of a camera.
And since the good state of Alabama seems to have it in mind to start its spring cleaning three months early, let’s hope that will hold true next November when Kay Ivey is on the ballot for her own term as Alabama’s governor. The voters who turned out Moore could turn out Ivey, too…and should.
Now that we’ve circled around (do you see it coming?) to the Alabama woman who, as governor, stated her support for Moore, we can talk about some other Alabama ladies of whom the state can be proud. We should all be grateful eternally to Alabama for giving us such “stars” as Harper Lee, Zelda Fitzgerald and Tallulah Bankhead, without whom there would be no To Kill a Mockingbird, no The Great Gatsby, and no Tallulah Bankhead. (Anyone who wants to challenge the Fitzgerald reference will have to meet me after class.)
But it may be that some of the contemporary daughters of Alabama, the new “stars” if you will, may have done just as much for their state. Certainly the ones who came forward with their allegations against Roy Moore, and certainly the 98% of African American women voters who supported Doug Jones. Alabama owes you, ladies.
And so does America.